Deuce Lutui (Getty)
In the midst of a standoff where Deuce Lutui refuses to sign his restricted free-agent tender, the Cardinals offensive lineman has decided to change agents. In addition to the acquisition of Pro Bowl guard Alan Faneca, Lutui has put himself at more of a disadvantage after missing minicamp and the first three OTA sessions. Will a change in Lutui’s representation end his absence? Find out inside.
Arizona Cardinals offensive lineman Deuce Lutui has changed agents. The former USC Trojan standout has still yet to sign his restricted free-agent tender that would pay him $1.76 million for the 2010 season. Lutui has started 47 of 48 games over the past three seasons but will likely move to a reserve role with Pro Bowler Alan Faneca now on the roster. With Faneca taking over at the left guard position, Reggie Wells slides to right guard leaving Lutui as the odd man out.
Lutui and his former agent, Max Hannemann, had been seeking a long-term commitment from GM Rod Graves and the Cardinals, but that scenario became obsolete following the addition of Faneca. Faneca’s presence along Arizona’s offensive line all but eliminated any leverage Lutui had in the negotiations. Despite his expected demotion, Lutui is still a valuable asset for the future. Faneca is 33 years of age and his struggles in pass protection have been well documented, particularly during his time with the New York Jets. Furthermore, the Cardinals lack an abundance of depth in the trenches.
In the wake of Hannemann’s departure, Ken Harris will be taking over the representation of Lutui. Harris’ first move as Lutui’s agent will most likely include urging the fifth-year veteran to sign. If Lutui fails to sign his tender by June 15, he runs the risk of leaving money on the table. The Cardinals would be able to scrap the current offer for a much lower amount of $588,500. With the June 15 deadline rapidly approaching, there’s a good chance Lutui will be back in action for the final stretch of Arizona’s OTAs taking place from June 7-10.
Under the guidance of assistant head coach/running game coordinator/offensive line coach Russ Grimm, the Cardinals have been transitioning to a more balanced attack on offense. Despite the strides Arizona’s offensive line has made in recent years, the team made several changes this offseason. In addition to Faneca, free-agent Rex Hadnot was signed and Levi Brown will make the move to left tackle in favor of the departed Mike Gandy. Jeremy Bridges is expected to replace Brown at right tackle.
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