Around the NFC West: Lutui fires agent

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic checks in with Cardinals linebacker Gerald Hayes, who downplays concerns about a bad back. Also, guard Deuce Lutui, presumably upset about his inability to secure a long-term deal, has switched agents. Somers: "A starter for most of his four seasons in the league, Lutui might have lost his job by staying away from off-season workouts. Alan Faneca is playing left guard with Reggie Wells moving into Lutui's spot on the right side. The Cardinals are concerned about Lutui's conditioning, since no one with the team has been able to evaluate him since last season ended." Has any NFC West player miscalculated as badly as Lutui this offseason?

Paola Boivin of the Arizona Republic says Cardinals rookie O'Brien Schofield has a different perspective on life after navigating tough times, including the death of his brother in a drowning accident on Lake Michigan. Schofield: "I just feel so blessed and so privileged. I promised myself I'm not going to do any stuff to dishonor the people that have invested in me. I'm going to prove it in the weight room, with my off-the-field behavior, with my on-the-field work, everything."

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says the Cardinals fought through hot temperatures at practice Thursday. Not that an indoor practice facility would be nice. Also, guard Rex Hadnot was working his injured knee on an exercise bike.

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says cornerback Ron Bartell is hoping to have a bounce-back season with the Rams. Bartell: "Last year was pretty tough as a team and for me personally, being injured and not playing as well as I'd hoped. But it's a new season, so we have new opportunities. And I'm looking forward to it."

Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune says former Rams tight end Randy McMichael, who struggled with dropped passes last season, should provide some insurance at the position even though Antonio Gates expects to be ready for the season. McMichael stopped being an unrestricted free agent once the Rams did not make an offer to him June 1, meaning his addition in San Diego will not factor into the formula for compensatory draft picks. No NFL team extended a qualifying offer to a UFA at the deadline this year.

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com thinks Vernon Davis' price tag will continue to rise and the team cannot afford to let the Pro Bowl tight end depart in free agency. Maiocco: "Davis is one of the best-blocking tight ends in the league. So he's important in the run game. And he's a very good target for Alex Smith in the red zone. Davis caught 13 touchdowns last season. When you think about it, Davis might be the most important player on the 49ers' offense." He might be the best player, but quarterbacks are always most important, I think.

Also from Maiocco: The 49ers have no regrets about moving up to draft Rutgers tackle Anthony Davis, even though evidence suggests the team could have selected him later.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says the 49ers were a strong red zone team on offense last season, allowing Vernon Davis and Frank Gore to rank among the NFL leaders in scoring for non-kickers.

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says tight end John Carlson is one of several Seattle players scheduled to spend Sunday helping out at teammate Will Herring's football camp.

Ryan Divish of the Tacoma News Tribune finds no fault in ranking the Seattle running backs among the worst in the league.

John Morgan of Field Gulls takes a look at what Seattle rookie Russell Okung offers relative to other top prospects. Morgan: "One does not see too many college football players that assuredly and effortlessly overmatch their opponents, but Okung did. He didn't make me reference my scout's handbook of trusty clichés, like 'violent hand punch', but where power, especially upper body strength, was concerned, Okung was a clear step above what one expects from even elite prospects."