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Deuce Finally In The Fold

As expected, guard signs his tender offer


Guard Deuce Lutui (76) signed his restricted free-agent tender offer Monday.
With the Cardinals' offseason work over and a deadline looming that would allow the team to reduce his 2010 salary, guard Deuce Lutui finally signed his restricted free-agent tender offer Monday.

The one-year deal is worth $1.759 million. Had he not signed it by June 15th, the Cards could have lowered the salary to $588,500. It's believed Lutui waited to sign in hope of getting a long-term contract extension the Cardinals made clear early in the process he was not going to receive before the season.

Lutui was in good spirits as he left the team complex, although he declined to comment.

The team's restricted free agents other than Lutui all signed their deals before the team started offseason work: wide receiver Steve Breaston, center Lyle Sendlein, tight end Ben Patrick and nose tackle Gabe Watson.

The Cardinals' veterans don't have any workouts scheduled until the team reports for training camp in Flagstaff in late July. Because Lutui waited, he missed not only the mandatory minicamp the week after the draft but all the voluntary organized team activities and the team's voluntary strength and conditioning program.

The latter is of the most concern to the Cards, given that Lutui – listed at 338 pounds – has battled his weight in the past.

Coach Ken Whisenhunt declined to talk about Lutui in the times he was asked about him this offseason, saying he only wanted to talk about the players participating in workouts. Lutui's right guard spot – where he started the past two seasons – was filled during minicamp and OTAs by Reggie Wells. Wells, the former left guard starter, was displaced by free-agent signee Alan Faneca.

General manager Rod Graves has said Lutui remains in the team's long-term plans. Offensive line coach Russ Grimm has repeatedly said the best five players will start on the line, although Faneca is expected to remain in place with Lutui and Wells battling for playing time.

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