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ESPN’s Clayton: Calais Campbell will be a hot item on free agent market

Arizona Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell (93) talks with New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) after an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 17, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. The Cardinals won 28-3. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

LISTEN: John Clayton, ESPN NFL insider

The Cardinals have said they would like to bring Calais Campbell back, and for his part, Campbell has professed a desire to remain in Arizona.

But free agency is a tricky business, and therefore it’s possible the defensive lineman has played his final down for the only NFL team he has ever known.

Because if the Cardinals do not make the right kind of offer, odds are someone else will.

A guest of Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Friday morning, ESPN NFL insider John Clayton said the market for the 30-year-old is strong.

“I think he’s going to be a hot item, particularly if some of the top players are all going to be franchised — particularly the top defensive players,” Clayton said. “Because if you look at it, he would clearly be the best 3-4 defensive end, and if there are some casualties as far as people leaving in Denver, I could see Denver going after him; I could see other teams going after him.

“I think he’s a valuable player.”

Clayton went on to say he believes the Broncos offer the best fit for the 6-foot-8, 300-pound player who is coming off an eight-sack season and has been to two Pro Bowls. He is not the first person to link Campbell to the Mile High City, as last month Denver Post columnist Mark Kiszla said John Elway and his club should look into Campbell if they move on from DeMarcus Ware.

A second-round pick out of Miami in 2008, Campbell has been a mainstay along Arizona’s defensive line since his second year in the league. He holds a team record for seasons with at least six sacks, which is at seven, and his 56.5 career sacks rank second on the franchise’s all-time list behind Freddie Joe Nunn, who tallied 66.

If Campbell is to reach the top of the list he and the Cardinals will need to come to some sort of an agreement over the next couple of months. Wit the franchise tag likely reserved for Chandler Jones — if anyone at all — it would seem the only chance the sides have is if they can work out a multi-year deal.

It’s possible that with time, an agreement will come to be. But if not, Campbell should have no shortage of suitors.

“I’m sure it’s not just Denver,” Clayton concluded. “There’s going to be other teams.”

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