Adam Schefter often answers reader questions in his blog. Have a query of your own? Submit it right here.
Q: I'm a huge San Francisco 49ers fan. Being the front runners now in the NFC West, why does it look like the Niners have just stayed pat and not really done anything this offseason?
-- Tom (Omaha)
A: San Francisco hasn't been overly active in free agency, Tom, but it hasn't needed to be. The 49ers have three of the top 49 picks in next month's draft. They're going to be able to land at least two, and perhaps three, players who can come in and contribute next season. So that's one issue. Now the quarterback issue is a different one. It's still hard for me to understand why San Francisco wouldn't ship one of its draft picks -- maybe the second -- to Philadelphia for Donovan McNabb. To the best of my knowledge, unless people are bluffing, the 49ers are not interested in trading for McNabb. But put McNabb on the 49ers' roster and they become instant favorites to win the NFC West and as formidable as anyone in the NFC. Would really love to see that move, but that's not going to happen.
Q: I am a big believer in Donovan McNabb. I think he is a top-five quarterback and has been treated unfairly here in Philadelphia. In my opinion, this city has no idea what kind of mess the Eagles are going to be in if they trade Donavon for a worthless 2nd round pick. I say worthless because I cannot trust Andy Reid with draft picks. The successful teams in the NFL draft for need, Andy drafts for value. That being said, do you believe that a second round pick is a fair trade for one of the most successful quarterbacks in the NFL, and the most successful in Eagles franchise history?
-- Scott (Philadelphia)
A: Scott, totally agree with your points on Donovan. If I ran a team, I'd be happy with him as my quarterback. But there are some things you have to keep in mind. For starters, the Eagles seem to be getting younger all the time, and switching to Kevin Kolb would be the latest example. Philadelphia also believes, as do other teams, that Kolb has an extremely bright future and is going to be a top quarterback. And then there is the issue of money, as there always is. The Eagles can trade McNabb now and get something back for him as opposed to next year, when they're going to be pressed against it. One year from now, the Eagles will have re-signed one of their quarterbacks to a big-money, long-term deal, proving that he's the quarterback of the future. They won't be able to use the franchise tag on the other because it will cost roughly $20 million for the 2011 season to do. So if the Eagles make no moves with their quarterbacks this offseason, they're virtually assured of losing at least one if not two of their three quarterbacks next offseason. Rather than wait, the Eagles are acting now. McNabb will be the odd man out and will be dealt.
-- AG (Hattiesburg, Miss.)
A: That's an interesting trade, AG. The problem with many of these deals, as good an idea as they seem, is money. Alex Brown is scheduled to make $5.5 million this year, and Osi U wants a new deal, which he has thus far struggled to land. So the Giants would have to take on Brown's salary, and the Bears would have to be prepared to give Osi U a new salary when they've just doled out all the big money they have to players such as Julius Peppers. Players for players, the trade makes some sense. But it's hard to see the deal coming off.
Q: With 2010 being an uncapped year, I thought teams could cut players and have a cap hit against an infinite cap (thus not hurting the team at all). With that said, how come we haven't seen more roster cuts of overpaid/underperforming players (e.g. JaMarcus Russell and Jamaal Anderson)? Are teams like Oakland and Atlanta waiting to see if they can finally get something out of them, and if not will they cut them right before the season ends?
-- Chris (Atlanta)
A: It's not that easy, Chris. There would not be any cap ramifications this year. But most everyone believes that once a new collective bargaining agreement is reached, whenever it is reached -- and it might not be for well over a year now -- there will be postdated rules going back to this offseason. So if a team is on the hook for a certain contract, it's not as simple as simply tossing it away. Plus, a player such as JaMarcus Russell still has $3 million guaranteed to him for this season and more millions guaranteed to him for next season. As long as a team is on the hook to pay a guy, it might as well keep him around and try to squeeze the talent out of him.
Q: I understand there are some safety issues that have to be remedied, but won't moving umpires to the backfield severely alter the way refs can call games?
-- Tim (Akron, Ohio)
A: We'll have to wait and see, Tim. But the one thing you can be confident in is this: If the NFL thought it would negatively impact the games, it wouldn't be doing it. It believes the umpires in the backfield will be able to see what they need to see -- without being in harm's way.
Q: I've heard that 49ers executive Paraag Marathe was involved in the parting of the ways with former SF GM Scot McCloughan. If this is true, does this mean an expanded role for him?
-- Bill (New York)
A: Multiple league sources confirm that Paraag Marathe had nothing to do with any of last week's events. Marathe had nothing to gain from the events, and in fact respected and was personally very close to McCloughan. Marathe's role within football operations will not change -- pre or post events -- as he will remain the club's chief contract negotiator and salary cap manager and will assist the top football man on player personnel matters.