The Arizona Cardinals didn’t use the franchise tag to secure either safety Tony Jefferson or defensive end Calais Campbell this year, and now both could be leaving in free agency.
In fact, according to one report, it’s not just a possibility but a likely scenario.
“Multiple outlets reported Sunday that Jefferson’s new contract could average $7 million,” as noted by Kent Somers of azcentral.com. “One source close to the situation, however, believes that number could be closer to $10 million.
“Campbell is likely to receive a more lucrative contract, at least in term of average per year, than the $11 million per year deal he signed with the Cardinals in 2012.
“At those prices, the Cardinals are expected to thank the players for their service and part ways. Their main focus then likely would be Gresham and Swearinger.”
Losing one of these players will be tough to overcome. Losing both might prove impossible.
Of the two, we highlighted Jefferson as the one free agent the Cardinals couldn’t afford to lose this offseason, which you can read about here.
Jefferson is one of the most talented up-and-coming safeties in the league. He was a dynamic player last year who logged 930 snaps before an MCL injury cut his season short. The Cardinals don’t have anyone in the pipeline who can step in and replace his production.
Losing Campbell won’t likely be as hard to overcome, as Robert Nkemdiche might be ready to step in full time to replace him in the starting lineup.
Arizona, which is coming off what can only be described as a failed season in 2016, certainly has its work cut out to avoid the same fate in 2017.