Yesterday we looked at Brandon Keith, who will become an unrestricted free agent in March. Keith was the starting right tackle for the Arizona Cardinals in 2010 and 2011, but due to injuries and poor performance, 69% of you voted that the Cards should not even bother re-signing him. If he doesn't come back, I still say he was a good addition to the team considering how much production they got out of him being a seventh round pick and all.
Now, let's look at another offensive lineman, one who did not see the field much during 2011. Deuce Lutui has had his fair share of troubles over the past year, but was once a very productive guard for this football team. So is the potential that we all know he has worth paying him to come back?
Lutui was a second round draft pick of the Cardinals in 2006. When the Cards drafted him, they knew that they were getting a solid lineman that excelled in both pass protection and run blocking. What they also knew is that they were drafting a player that has always dealt with weight issues.
That problem came to fruition when, before the 2011 season began, Lutui signed a two year deal with the Cincinnati Bengals to become a starting guard on their offensive line. However, the contract was voided after he failed to pass a physical due to his weight problems. Because of that, Lutui found himself buying a ticket back to Arizona to sign a one year, veteran's minimum contract with the Cards.
Many felt that Lutui would have a lot more opportunities last season, but Rex Hadnot took the starting job at right guard and did not relinquish it. Even when Daryn Colledge went down in week 5 against the Vikings, Lutui was not inserted in his place. I think the coaching staff obviously was trying to show him that just because he is a good player, that doesn't mean he is guaranteed playing time. They wanted him to lose weight and come to play in shape, which is a type of accountability he had never been held to before.
Lutui played out his latest deal and is set to become a free agent yet again. This time, he will not see the type of interest that he did just a few months ago. His stock has fallen greatly, as he only appeared in a single game for the Cardinals last season. Ironically, that game was in week 16 when the Cards traveled to take on the team that voided his big contract- the Bengals.
So should Arizona have interest in bringing him back? I think it really depends on his physical fitness and whether or not he learned what is going to be expected of him. No team is going to sign him for a huge deal as it is, so if the Cards can bring him back fairly cheap to be a backup, then I don't think that is such a terrible idea. As I said, Lutui is an athlete and a very talented player that just needs a kick in the rear every once in a while. If the coaching staff is willing to work with him and keep his weight under control, I have no doubt that he can still be a very effective player for this franchise.
What do you think? Should the Cards bring back Big Deuce? Vote in the poll and give your take in the comments section below.