Back in January, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians told reporters point blank that the team is willing to place the franchise tag on the star defensive end if the two sides cannot agree on a long-term deal. If that wasn’t clear enough, we now have additional confirmation from team president Michael Bidwill.
“We’re not going to mess around with that,” Bidwill said (via the team website). “He’s a great pass rusher, but if we can’t agree to terms that work for us, we’re just going to franchise him. His people know that.”
This year, the non-exclusive tag for defensive ends is expected to come in at $16.955MM. Ideally, the Cardinals would like to sign Jones to a multi-year deal that will keep him in place through his prime, but the tag will be their fallback if they can’t achieve that.
Given Jones’ talent, position, and age (26), his reps will push for astronomical figures on a brand new deal with a favorable cashflow like Olivier Vernon‘s free agent pact with the Giants. The Cardinals were aware of the cost factor when they traded for Jones last season, but they’ll only go so far this spring given the leverage of the first-time tag.
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