Darren Urban reports that Deuce Lutui has switched agents. Lutui has until June 15th to sign his one-year, $1.76 million tender before the Cardinals are allowed to lower the tender to 110% of his 2009 salary ($588,500). Whether the switch will prompt Lutui’s signing remains to be seen, but if Deuce doesn’t hurry up, it’s a difference of $1,171,500 in salary. If Lutui, however, thinks it’s worth risking that amount to hold out for a long-term contract, I guess the Cards won’t be anywhere closer by the 15th. Deuce is a serviceable, but not standout guard, so hopefully his new agent will tell him to just sign and get to work.
Also, Mike Sando of ESPN wrote an interesting piece about the 10 most undervalued players in the NFC West, which included three Cardinals. They are Tim Hightower, Calais Campbell, and Lyle Sendlein.
1/10. Calais Campbell, Cardinals defensive end. Campbell produced 7.0 sacks in his first season as a starter, more than predecessor Antonio Smith has ever managed in a season. Sacks aren’t everything, particularly for a 3-4 end, but Campbell is already better than some veteran starters. He’ll earn $470,000 in salary this season on a deal averaging $726,250 per season.
3/10. Tim Hightower, Cardinals running back. Beanie Wells projects as the long-term starter, but Hightower has shown value as a good all-around player and short-yardage runner. Hightower has 18 touchdowns in two NFL seasons and his 2010 salary is $470,000. He has run with the starters this offseason.
7/10. Lyle Sendlein, Cardinals center. The Cardinals could have new starters at four of the five spots on their offensive line. Sendlein, tendered at the $1.684 million level, is one lineman expected to remain in his previous spot. That says something about his value. Centers can be overlooked, but lots of things go wrong if a team has a bad one.
I couldn’t agree more about Calais Campbell. He rewarded the Cardinals by turning in an outstanding year after being given his first shot as a starter. He was constantly pressuring opposing quarterbacks and is currently the best pass rush threat the Cardinals have on their roster. Among all defensive ends in a 3-4 scheme (39 players), he was 1st in sacks, 2nd in quarterback pressures, 7th in hits on the quarterback, 2nd in batted passes, and 3rd in tackles. This production is remarkable, considering Campbell is young and has a lot of room to improve. Calais should be a force in 2010.