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Another view on the NT market

Posted by Albert Breer  February 25, 2010 11:53 AM

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You guys heard the news on Casey Hampton.

If you're an optimistic type, then you might see this as the first domino in the nose-tackle game, with Ryan Pickett, Vince Wilfork and Aubrayo Franklin all tagged and seeking long-term deals.

And it could be. But it also might not be, depending on how each club looks at the player, and how the player looks at each deal.

"If all of the sudden, the numbers are outrageous and the agent comes to us and says, ‘OK, we know he’s not as good, but we want this, this and this,’ then he can still be overpriced," 49ers GM Scot McCloughan told me, as he deals with his own situation with Franklin. "But if the numbers come across where it’s a win-win, then it really could speed it up."

McCloughan added: "It depends on what the numbers look like, because they’ll all want to do comparisons. And it also depends on the quality of the player, how many Pro Bowls he’s been to, and what he does for the defense. Anytime deals gets done, it can be a positive or a negative depending on the numbers."

It's interesting, nonetheless, how all these guys have come at once, and how each guy's situation could affect the next guy's, and how the rising number of teams playing the 3-4 has pushed the pricetag up on these wide-bodies.

"It’s unique that it’s happening. You’re seeing more 3-4 teams, and that plays into it, because of the lack of depth in college, if you’re trying to find a true nose," McCloughan said. "When it’s a base 3-4, the nose is very, very important. If you’re watch our tape, we’re in the 4-3 just as much, and then you go to our nickel ... Now, you’re talking about a two-down player, in your nose. But that goes to show the importance, that we’re willing to pay that much for a two-down player."
News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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