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Cardinals GM: Calais Campbell Won't Get Away In Free Agency

The Arizona Cardinals had an uneven season in 2011, one that showed flashes of brilliance and futility in nearly equal measure. They will hope to field a stronger team in 2012 while retaining their best components from last season. One of those key elements is impending free agent defensive end Calais Campbell.

Darren Urban at the official Cardinals blog reports that Arizona general manager Rod Graves on Thursday said Campbell will not be leaving the team. Although he did not mention it specifically, it seems as though the team is preparing to use the franchise tag on the DE.

Calais will be with us, rest assured. We will continue to focus on getting a long term deal in place and it's a process. But he will be an Arizona Cardinals player this year and we are hoping certainly to extend that to a long-term deal. Conversations are continuing with his agent.

Campbell was the standout for the Cardinals on defense last year. The team would benefit from applying the franchise tag to him, if that's what it will take to work out a long-term deal.

For more on the Cardinals, check out Revenge Of The Birds.