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State Of The Arizona Cardinals Roster: Centers

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One of the most un-noticed positions on the roster is often the center. In all reality, the center handles the ball just as much as the quarterback and is the first offensive lineman to initiate a block. The Cardinals don't have the most experience and depth at center, and both are set to become restricted free agents. With the inevitable loss of Mike Gandy, keeping both free agent centers around should be the Cardinals number one priority.

Lyle Sendlein

Age and 2009 Stats: 25-years old (03/25/1984) - 2 sacks allowed, 3 penalties for 30 yards

Contract Status: Restricted Free Agent

2009 Review: It's never easy to evaluate a center but from what we saw out of Sendlein in 2009, I'd say he had a successful year. When you're undersized and undrafted, you're rarely going to dominate at a pro bowl level, but what Lyle has done with his time with the team is respectable. He's managed to become a very consistent piece of the Cardinals offense and has been one player the team could depend on. Injuries weren't a problem in 2009 and surrendering only two sacks for the year is tremendous. He didn't make any head-scratching plays and was very likable player.

2010 Outlook: Sendlein may never develop into a stalwart on the Cardinals offensive line, but he's consistent enough to remain the starter for the time-being. He's a restricted free agent and the Cardinals are expected to offer him a 2nd-round tender. If they do, they may offer him a long-term deal next season should Ken Whisenhunt believe Sendlein can produce quality starting play for the remainder of his career.

Season Grade: B-

Ben Claxton

Age and 2009 Stats: 29-years old (07/30/1980)

Contract Status: Restricted Free Agent

2009 Review: Claxton didn't play a lick of offense so evaluating his play in 2009 isn't possible. We do know that he was impressive enough to the coaches that they didn't go out and search for a veteran back up.

2010 Outlook: Keeping Claxton should be relatively easy considering he's a restricted free agent.

Season Grade: N/A

When it's all said and done, I expect the Cardinals to tender both of these players. Ken Whisenhunt hasn't shown any interest in shuffling the offensive line other then shifting Levi Brown to Mike Gandy's position. While Sendlein isn't  the most polished center in the league, he's been productive with what he's given and I believe he'll get better the more he starts with the team. What are your thoughts on the centers and should the Cardinals bring both back?