By Mike Sando
Steve Hutchinson’s disputed departure from the Seattle Seahawks five years ago changed the landscape for guards across the NFL.
The contract Hutchinson commanded from the Minnesota Vikings put other top guards in position to cash much fatter paychecks.
The position has assumed the spotlight in the NFC West recently. The San Francisco 49ers used a first-round pick for a guard in the 2010 draft. The Seahawks used a 2011 third-round choice for Wisconsin guard John Moffitt. Their first-rounder, tackle James Carpenter, appealed to them in part because he can play guard as well. The Arizona Cardinals watched left guard Alan Faneca retire while wondering whether right guard Deuce Lutui would hit free agency.