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Around the NFC West: Brown signs with Saint Louis; Niners sign Smith, Bruce; Cards Do Nothing

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More than half of the Seahawks 2008 schedule was affected by yesterday's free agent frenzy. Let's center in on the NFC West for now.

Brown Out

The hated, but adorable in a kitten sort of way, Rams signed Josh Brown. Brown is a good kicker, but is joining a terrible team with little foundation for future success. Old, thin, Jim Haslett...you get the point.

Niners Sign Justin Smith: 6/45, 20 guaranteed

Smith didn't sack Matt Hasslebeck on a botched block by Rob Sims in week 3, but he enabled Mike Meyers to. That little horror show was Smith's only highlight from week 3. Not long ago, Smith was considered a well rounded defensive end, capable of providing pass rush and stuffing the run. By all indications Smith dropped off considerably in 2007.

Traditional Stats: 2 sacks, 3 Stuffs, 78 tackles, 3 Pass Defenses, 0 FF

FO Line Stats: 32nd Ranked Adjusted Sack Rank, 27th ranked on rushes behind left tackle, 7th ranked on rushes around left end

Without a wealth of tape, I eschew judgment, but Smith will be 29 by week 4, is leaving one of the worst defenses in football and is coming off the worst season of his career. It's not that I think he won't rebound on a new team with better surrounding talent, it's just that I question throwing money at a declining veteran. The front three was an otherwise talented D's greatest sore spot. Talented, but far from effective (28th). Nevertheless, The Niners defense just improved and it's not farfetched to think they can crack the top 15. A top 15 ranked defense, a bottom 5 offense--that should be good enough for a 6-10 season. Maybe.

Niners Sign Isaac Bruce: 2/6

I don't think I need to say, the difference between the Niners offense and competence was Isaac Bruce. Mike Martz, already paying dividends.

Rod Graves is the Worst GM in Football

I wrote this spring and summer of last year.

Final Grade: The Cards are a team many, including myself, predicted to compete next season. This is why you shouldn't make such claims before the NFL draft. Brown was a reach, Branch is a poor fit that cost too much. Davis is a 4-3 LB who needs big men up front to keep the blockers off him. Breaston is a joke and Patrick, well, Patrick is a good pick. If Davis or Branch get hurt or flop, this entire draft falls apart. C-...Remember this post where I excoriated the Arizona Cardinals draft, calling it amateurish and implying that as long as Rod Graves is unwilling to give a damn about the most important weekend of talent acquisition in professional sports, instead choosing to defer to his coaching staff, that the Cards would be perennial losers? Well, never-could-work-in-a-3-4-in-a-million-years LB Buster Davis has been cut.
The player destined to sign with the Cards developing offensive line didn't and probably won't. Something about wanting to get paid to play. Sell-out.

Enjoy yourself Cards fans.