Decisions loom for SF, CAR, DET

Will the 49ers sign Colin Kaepernick to a new contract now or try to strike a deal down the road? AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Now that we are a few weeks into the 2014 NFL league year, roster composition is starting to come into focus for each team. Salary-cap planning for 2014 and identification of areas of strength versus areas of need have taken place, and there is a clear shifting in priorities from free-agent visits to pre-draft workouts and stacking the draft board.

However, for many teams, there will need to be specific attention paid to key players on their rosters who have a pending contract negotiation looming on the horizon, as their current situations do not bode well for future cap planning and/or could affect the delicate relationship that exists between players and management.

There are three such situations worth keeping an eye on as we move forward in the offseason. One involves a recently franchised, rising defensive star in the Panthers' Greg Hardy; another involves a very good player with a huge 2014 cap number on a team that has virtually no cap flexibility in the Lions' Ndamukong Suh; and the last involves a young QB still playing on his rookie contract who rightfully wants to cash in on his success in the 49ers' Colin Kaepernick.