For the Arizona Cardinals, the 2010 offseason program has been a success. According to Ken Whisenhunt, "95%" of the roster has shown up and participated in the offseason workouts and this past weekend's rookie mini camp. In all actuality, every member of the Cardinals roster attended but one - offensive guard Deuce Lutui.
When free agency opened up for business back on March 5th, Lutui was extended a one year tender offer for $1.759 million. Since then, he's been a regular no show and he has yet to sign the offer. The Lutui camp has been mouths-shut about the subject, leaving one to ponder the motive behind the absence.
Is he holding off in hopes to trigger a long-term deal from the front office? If so, that seems increasingly unlikely with every passing offseason day. Lutui isn't a household name - those whom often can draw a new contract by not reporting to workouts. Duece has hardly lived up to his second-round draft pick status from 2006, up until this past year. Job security is a must-have in the NFL, but it's not always possible. It's understandable, but the front office also shipped off Anquan Boldin, and haven't resigned Darnell Dockett long term, after both requested new contracts. The squeaky wheel doesn't always get the grease, and in this case, it gets replaced by a shiny brand new wheel.
Does he want out of Arizona? Getting back to the fact that he isn't a household name suggests that his market value will be low. He's struggled with penalties and bone-head mistakes in the past - how many teams will want to take a chance on him? Right now his best option would be signing the tender with the Cardinals and competing for the starting right guard position.
So far this standoff has only hurt Lutui's stock. It's likely hurt his image to his teammates, coaches, and the fans as well. To add insult to injury, the Cardinals signed pro bowl guard Alan Faneca just last week and Lutui's grasp for a starting position along the offensive line is slowly slipping away. It's imperative that he signs with the team for long-term purposes. Yes, the offensive line is set for 2010, but what happens after Faneca and possibly eight-year veteran Reggie Wells are no longer with the team?
To be clear, Lutui is not holding out. He's not under contract and isn't obligated to attend the "voluntary" offseason programs. Lutui however, is running out of options. After April 15th passed, Lutui became even more restricted and now isn't able to sign with any other teams. After June 15th, the Cardinals can replace the $1.759 million offer with a tender that's as low as one third of the first offer, or they can pull the offer all together, making Lutui a free agent. Lutui might want to think about consulting with someone else, because whoever is giving him advice doesn't appear to have his best interest in mind.