After tag, where Cards and Campbell go from here

Posted by Darren Urban on March 2, 2012 – 1:06 pm

The Cardinals, as everyone knew would happen for a while, tagged defensive end Calais Campbell Friday amidst the flood of players across the league getting the tag.

So what’s next?

At this point, it’s impossible to tell where the two sides are in their contract talks. Campbell’s agent hasn’t been talking specifics to the media and general manager Rod Graves has only said that he expects a resolution to come soon. In theory, a new deal for Campbell could still come over the next few days or before free agency starting March 13. The tag is a mechanism to buy more time to get that deal. The deadline was Monday, which is why it came now. If teams could have waited until March 13 to put on the tag, Campbell wouldn’t have it yet.

With the non-exclusive tag, Campbell can solicit offers from other teams as long as he has yet to sign his tender with the Cards. I’m not sure what his plans are on that. Usually other teams don’t want to delve into a tag offer sheet, most of all because signing the guy means it costs two first-round draft picks, and as good as Campbell is, I don’t see any way another team would give up a pair of first-rounders for him. Then there is the reality (which is in play for restricted free agent offer sheets) that all the new team is doing is negotiating a new deal for the player’s current team, since the current team — in this case, the Cards — can match whatever offer is made.

As soon as Campbell signs his tag tender with the Cards, which would guarantee a 2012 salary expected to be around $11 million, he can’t get offers from other teams any more.

All this means is that a) Campbell will be a Cardinal in 2012 and b) the two sides will continue to try to get a long-term deal done. There have been concerns from fans about the last time the Cards used the tag and how that ended, which was the 2008 and 2009 tagging of linebacker Karlos Dansby. He eventually fled as a free agent, never getting a long-term deal done. In Dansby’s case, the team and his then-agent thought they had a deal done at one point, only to have Dansby nix it. Dansby then changed agents and landed in Miami. At the time, the Cards felt Dansby had a worth and he thought it was more, and the Cards weren’t going to break the bank. You can argue both sides of whether that was the right move.

In this case, the Cards know Campbell is a rising star, just 25 and good both on the field and in the locker room. There are things in play here that no one — other than Graves and Campbell agent Ben Dogra — knows for sure the impact. With a new TV deal coming in a couple of years, and the subsequent rise in cap space, how much is that influencing what Campbell wants? At what comps are the Cards putting Campbell’s value, i.e., what defensive ends are they comparing him to? Impossible to know for sure.

I will reiterate what I think. I think a deal gets done this offseason (Campbell must have a new pact in place by July 16 or play 2012 under the tag deal.) How long it takes, I don’t know.

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Posted in Blog | 27 Comments »

27 Responses to “After tag, where Cards and Campbell go from here”

  1. By Bill on Mar 2, 2012 | Reply

    Guy is a beast! Sign him for a long term deal. He’ll only get better

  2. By Shaun Church on Mar 2, 2012 | Reply


    So if a deal is done before July 16, he will be paid for that new deal in 2012 and not the tag amount? Boy, that would be enormous and potentially save them a boat-load of cash.

    Also, the Cards did the right thing in not breaking the bank for Dansby. He has tailed off considerably since getting a big-time deal in Miami.

  3. By Darren Urban on Mar 2, 2012 | Reply

    Shaun —

    RE: New deal

    A new deal would mean a fresh new contract. It would have nothing to do with the tag, although his up-front money will likely be more than the actual tag price (just pro-rated over the life of the deal.)

  4. By joe holst on Mar 2, 2012 | Reply

    Yeah I hope so Calais is amazing, Darren what are the odds do you think this deal will get done with Cards?

  5. By Darren Urban on Mar 2, 2012 | Reply

    Joe Holst —

    RE: Odds

    As I wrote above, I think a deal gets done.

  6. By Kurt on Mar 2, 2012 | Reply

    Tag well placed
    Let’s ink him for 6 years

  7. By Travis on Mar 2, 2012 | Reply

    Cut Kolb and use his money. At least Campbell has proved he can play. Pay the man!

  8. By Mike Ellingboe on Mar 2, 2012 | Reply

    Good to hear things are moving forward, but to the point about his value I can see where we’ll need to tread kind of carefully. I’d like to think everyone would be above it, but human nature says 9-0 wouldn’t like being the second highest paid DE on the team.

  9. By Darren Urban on Mar 2, 2012 | Reply

    Mike Ellingboe —

    RE: Dockett

    I think that’s a fair concern. But Darnell probably isn’t going to have a choice, methinks.

  10. By AZbelgium on Mar 2, 2012 | Reply


    How much cap room is there left atm now that we tagged CC? we know about some teams that are left to play with around 50 mill etc like Niners and some others.
    How do we look at the moment? I know i saw it somewhere or something about the players caps, but yeah have you got an idea atm?

    AND have you guys heard it? The Saints??? that will have some hard consequences, let’s hear more about it in the next few days, but damn!!

  11. By Darren Urban on Mar 2, 2012 | Reply

    AZbelgium —

    RE: Cap room

    I don’t know how much exactly, but it’ll be different after something is done with Levi Brown. It won’t be anywhere near the amount the Niners have available.

  12. By Christo on Mar 2, 2012 | Reply

    How much of CC’s success is DUE to having DD here?

    Ugh, love CC we need them both though . . . or we need NE’s 2 1RD picks !!

  13. By Mike Ellingboe on Mar 2, 2012 | Reply


    lol, no, probably not.

  14. By georgiebird on Mar 2, 2012 | Reply

    I don’t blame the Cardinals in the Campbell tagging. One of the problems Whiz, Graves & Bidwill have with a young guy like Campbell is “how good is he?” During the last 3 seasons, the Cardinals haven’t played big games where Campbell could shine. Yes, CC is a great field goal blocker but he doesn’t have the signature moments to justify a major commitment. No nationally televised games where CC nailed down a victory with a sack or took the double team to free up a teammate.
    Let’s see how the season goes and how the “new” defense plays before we give CC the ranch. .

  15. By cdubbbb on Mar 3, 2012 | Reply

    There were actually a few games Campbell shined in, albeit not nationally televised. He has the potential to be the best DLineman in the league and had an almost historic season last year. He does benefit from having Dockett play across from him, but the potential is there. Gotta lock him up long term.

  16. By Mr.Ramirez on Mar 2, 2012 | Reply

    Great call Cards. Campbell is a great player who can only get better.

  17. By azfancolo on Mar 3, 2012 | Reply

    Alright, one project done

  18. By Matt in Philly on Mar 3, 2012 | Reply

    There’s no question that you keep Campbell at ALL costs. He is without a doubt the best 3-4 DE in the NFL. Not only is he a great clubhouse and community guy, but he notched 8 sacks in a 3-4 scheme where DEs don’t typically get them. In fact, only four 3-4 DEs had more sacks than Campbell, and not one of those guys had more tackles. Moreover, not a single DE (3-4 or otherwise) had more passes defended than Campbell.

    Combining the development of Dan Williams, David Carter, Sam Acho, O’Brien Schofield, Patrick Peterson, and Greg Toler with stalwarts like A-Dub, Kerry Rhodes, Campbell, Dockett, Lenon, and DWashington, this defense has a chance to be very stout. I don’t see a need to make a big splash on defense with a big free agent or a 1st round pick. We definitely could use depth(!), but I would like to see us focus on developing an O-Line and getting a real #2 receiving option so that the passing game can open up.

  19. By gozona on Mar 4, 2012 | Reply

    We Must ink Campbell……..itd be a real slacker move not to pay this guy…hes only getting better… my eyes absolute impact player…SHOW HIM THE MONEY

  20. By Alex Mann on Mar 4, 2012 | Reply

    This is semi of topic but… Where do talks stand with Richard Marshall? He’d be great to have back albeit his role may be somewhat diminished with the return of Toler.

  21. By Darren Urban on Mar 4, 2012 | Reply

    Alex –

    RE: Marshall

    Some talks have happened but I would not be surprised if Marshall wants to hit the open market and see what he is worth.

  22. By johnnybluenose on Mar 4, 2012 | Reply

    hopefully we can get CC signed long term but no surprise he was tagged in the short-term. to me, the surprise is in new orleans. what’s up with that? i think brees was the best qb in the league last year, he has been the face of the franchise since he got there, the saints recently won a superbowl and are hosting the next one … and the saints can’t offer him a contract that he thinks is worthy of his signature. what’s wrong with everyone there?

  23. By Shaun Church on Mar 4, 2012 | Reply

    Hey Darren,

    Just wondering because many mock drafts I see seem to be wrong:

    The Cards have two picks in the sixth this year, correct? They got Washington’s pick originally from Minnesota for Tim Hightower, I thought. I need clarification on this, please, sir.

    Thanks, boss.

  24. By Darren Urban on Mar 5, 2012 | Reply

    Shaun —

    RE: Picks

    Yes, the Cardinals will have an extra sixth-rounder (I expect; haven’t seen anything official yet) from the Hightower trade.

  25. By Eazy E on Mar 5, 2012 | Reply

    We better lock Marshall up also.

  26. By Scott H on Mar 5, 2012 | Reply

    Ah well. My knee jerk reaction is to be cynical and say “Yeah, we’ve seen this song and dance before.” But that same ignorance led me to believe the Cardinals mis-handled the dansby situation when what I did NOT know was that Dansby himself was just as much as an obstacle to keeping him here. Trying to learn from my mistakes and to be wiser for it. So…for now, I’ll just be glad to know that Campbell is here next year, no matter what.

  27. By Gerald Jones on Mar 6, 2012 | Reply

    Darren – will the Cardinals try to get Paton Manning?

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