San Francisco general manager Trent Baalke just spoke at a podium here in the stadium lobby at the scouting combine in Indianapolis. Two things he said of note to the NFC West and the Seahawks in particular.
*He praised quarterback Colin Kaepernick for how diligently and hard he is working this winter in Arizona with former NFL MVP Kurt Warner on the mechanics of the position such as footwork, arm angles of different passes plus throwing with more balance and versatility in the pocket. The 49ers GM used the word "dedicated" to describe Kaepernick's work this offseason.
*Baalke said he spoke a couple days ago with running back Frank Gore, who is now a free agent. The Seahawks nemisis and running back has been reported to be unsure of whether the 49ers want him back at the age of 31. The Colts are reported to have strong interest in signing Gore, but Baalke said "I still think he's got it in him" and "we are going to do everything we can to bring him back."
Washington and Miami are also reported to have interest in signing Gore. The Seahawks wouldn't mind him gone from the NFC West; his 1,421 yards rushing in 18 career games against Seattle are his most against any NFL team. He has averaged 5.13 yards per carry against the Seahawks.
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Arizona general manager Steve Keim followed Baalke and confirmed the squashing of those dreams some of you had that wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald might sign a free-agent contract with the Seahawks. Keim said the new contract that will bring Fitzgerald back to the Cardinals is "essentially for two years," so through the 2016 season.
"It was very important for Larry to remain a Cardinal," Keim said, adding that importance was mutual and that the deal accelerated to completion over the last week.
Keim said the Cardinals "would love to have Darnell (Dockett) back" and that the team will be talking with their star defensive tackle over the coming weeks after he missed all of last season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee. That likely means Arizona is going to ask Dockett to restructure his contract to more cap-friendly terms for the Cardinals. Dockett is currently due a $6,550,000 base salary that would be a $9.8 million salary-cap hit to Arizona in 2015. That's a steep, steep cost for a 33-year-old, 10-year veteran coming off reconstructive knee surgery.
Keim twice mentioned the need for Arizona to get "more athletic" at outside and inside linebacker. That may be an eye north toward the two-time defending division-champion Seahawks' ultra-fast linebackers Bobby Wagner, Seattle's All-Pro in the middle, plus Bruce Irvin and K.J. Wright outside.
Keim mentioned how big a loss Todd Bowles will be to his team. Arizona's defensive coordinator through last season left to become the new head coach of the New York Jets.
"Todd is a guy we are going to miss," Keim said, noting how the coordinator had a knack for getting the most of Cardinals defenders by putting them in perfect schemes.
The GM said how Arizona lacked an outside pass rusher yet still generated a pass rush through Bowles' calls and alignments. Keim used as an example the way Bowles moved former Washington State safety Deone Bucannon to linebacker in nickel packages last season.
--How big a show has this combine become? I counted 10 folks and four cameras crowding around a round table this morning to talk to ... a kicker from Louisiana-Monroe.