The Arizona Cardinals officially placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on defensive end Calais Campbell on Friday. The organization beat the March 5 deadline for applying the tag and had previously stated their desire to keep Campbell on the team for 2012. The non-exclusive tag means other NFL teams can still sign the 25-year old, but the Cardinals would have the chance to match any offer and would receive two first-round draft picks as compensation if Campbell left.
General manager Rod Gaves told Darren Urban of the Cardinals official website that the goal is still to reach a long-term deal:
"We've made no secret of the high regard in which we hold Calais," general manager Rod Graves said. "To be clear, reaching a long-term deal that will keep Calais with the Cardinals for years to come remains our primary objective. This move today allows us the opportunity to continue working with Calais and his agent toward that goal and that's exactly what we will do."
The next step is for Campbell to sign the tender offer. If he chooses to do so, his 2012 salary will become fully guaranteed as is expected to be worth approximately $10.6 million. He and the team still have until July 16 to reach a long-term deal. Campbell is coming off a career-high eight sacks and 10 passes defended in 2011.
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