Around the NFC West: Keeping Campbell

Drafting front-line NFL starters in the second round isn't always easy.

The Arizona Cardinals have had their share of successes (Calais Campbell, Daryl Washington, Karlos Dansby and Deuce Lutui) in recent years. They've also suffered some disappointments (Cody Brown, Alan Branch).

Retaining Campbell on a long-term deal was important for quite a few reasons, especially with Dansby playing well elsewhere, Branch enjoying success for a division rival and Lutui threatening to do the same.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic put Campbell's new five-year deal in perspective. Somers: "By removing the franchise tag from Campbell and restructuring his contract, the Cardinals freed up money to explore free-agency options and possibly re-sign some of their free agents, such as outside linebacker Clark Haggans and defensive lineman Vonnie Holliday. It should should help them sign some of their picks from last month's draft, including first-rounder Michael Floyd. Just as important, the signing means Campbell won't follow the footsteps of former Cardinals linebacker Karlos Dansby. Several attempts to sign him to a multi-year extension failed, and Dansby, one of the team's key contributors, left via free agency and signed with Miami."

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com sees a pattern: "The last four players the Cardinals kept saying publicly they would soon be extending -- Adrian Wilson, Darnell Dockett, Larry Fitzgerald and now Campbell -- all got their extensions. Something to remember when analyzing what the team says about future players."

Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News says Randy Moss and Michael Crabtree are becoming fast friends. Donte Whitner: "They have a great relationship. Whenever you're doing something where you need a partner, they're always together."

Also from Inman: Alex Smith consulted with a pitching coach this offseason.

Kevin Lynch of the San Francisco Chronicle says Moss could be the key to San Francisco's season.

Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle says Alex Boone is embracing a chance to play right guard.

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com previews the 49ers' rookie camp. Maiocco: "LaMichael James will be ineligible to return to the work at the 49ers practice facility until after Oregon's graduation ceremony on June 15. Stanford, Northwestern and Wisconsin also have late graduations."

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says Bobby Wagner is the latest in a long line of second-round linebackers with a shot at starting for the team. The others: Lofa Tatupu, Dave Wyman, Keith Butler, Terry Beeson and Terry Wooden. Scout Eric Stokes: "First and foremost, he’s a big-time upgrade athletically. His speed and his range are going to be very impressive and you’re getting a guy that’s really physical. It’s going to be a natural adjustment to middle linebacker."

Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune offers first impressions after watching the Seahawks during a 45-minute workout. Boling: "The new No. 72 is the surprisingly svelte guard Deuce Lutui, whom you may recall from the days when he was stretching out Arizona Cardinals jerseys. Lutui failed the physical last year with Cincinnati and returned to Arizona as a backup. Although said to have been topping out in the 400-pound range, he’s listed at a believable 338 now, having slimmed down by adopting some vegan concepts in his diet. That’s good news for an offensive line that finished the season without three injured high draft picks -- Russell Okung, James Carpenter and John Moffitt. Okung and Moffitt have recovered well enough to be active in drills going against bags, while Carpenter is on the hoof but mostly watching."

Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Rams fans shouldn't be too alarmed over the team's stadium lease situation. He says team owner Stan Kroenke has incentive to keep the requested stadium upgrades within a reasonable price range. Burwell: "The best way for Kroenke to maximize the G-4 loan is if the final Dome proposal mandates that his share of the financial burden for renovation not exceed $150 million and that the total cost of the project costs between $200 million and $400 million. ... The thing that works for everyone is making sure that the Rams stay right here. After seeing what it cost the good folks of Minneapolis to keep the Vikings, suddenly $400 million doesn't sound so bad."