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Cardinals to lose safety Tony Jefferson to Baltimore Ravens

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin his hit by Arizona Cardinals strong safety Tony Jefferson (22) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

The Arizona Cardinals bet on undrafted free agent signee Tony Jefferson out of college. Four years later, Jefferson is expected to use that opportunity to sign a new deal with the Baltimore Ravens, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Arizona Sports 98.7 FM’s John Gambadoro reports that Jefferson narrowed his choices down to the New York Jets, Cleveland Browns and Ravens before picking Baltimore because of the fit. According to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, Jefferson left money on the table after Cleveland offered more money than Baltimore.

On Wednesday, Arizona also lost nine-year veteran Calais Campbell, who leaves for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Jefferson appeared in at least 15 regular season games every season and in 2016 had his best one yet, tallying 96 combined tackles, two sacks, 13 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and five passes defensed.

His role only grew as Arizona attempted to find production with safety Tyrann Mathieu recovering from an ACL tear the year prior before he was shut down at the end of the year.

The 5-foot-11 safety, whom the Cardinals inked in 2013 out of Oklahoma, joins his second NFL team after his market value ballooned due to his strong 2016 season.

The Cardinals maintained they wanted to work out a new deal with Jefferson, and the San Diego native was also hoping to remain with them before it became clear other teams would offer contracts out of Arizona’s price range.

Heading into March, the Cardinals had many questions to answer with Jefferson joined by defensive end Calais Campbell, cornerback Marcus Cooper, safety D.J. Swearinger, tackle Frostee Rucker, and linebackers Alex Okafor, Kevin Minter and Sio Moore as free agents on the defensive side of the ball.

Jefferson totaled 257 tackles, five sacks, six forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and two interceptions in his Arizona career.

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