Chandler Jones could be next in line for Cardinals to earn franchise tag

Feb 15, 2017, 7:30 AM | Updated: 11:58 am

Arizona Cardinals linebacker Chandler Jones (55) recovers the fumble by New England Patriots quarte...

Arizona Cardinals linebacker Chandler Jones (55) recovers the fumble by New England Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

In 1993, the Franchise Tag was introduced into the NFL lexicon.

The designation, which carries two categories (exclusive rights and non-exclusive rights) is designed to ensure teams are able to keep their best players, regardless of what might be offered in the free agent market.

If you are an exclusive rights franchise tagee, you will receive a one-year contract for whatever is greater between the average of the top five salaries in the NFL at your position or 120 percent of your previous year’s salary. The downside to this designation is that you cannot negotiate with any other team but the one that tagged you.

A non-exclusive rights tagged player will essentially receive the same kind of contract as the exclusive rights player, but retains the ability to negotiate and sign with another team. At that point, the previous team would have the opportunity to match the contract or, if not, receive a pair of first-round draft picks as compensation.

Many players have been tagged since 1993, with a good portion of them not being happy about it. Sure, the money is nice for a one-year deal, but there is a lack of security in such contracts and they understand more could be made if they were free to sign anywhere they wanted.

The Cardinals have not used their franchise tag since 2012, but this offseason they have a good many key free agents and will likely have to turn to it once again.

The most likely (and obvious) candidate is linebacker Chandler Jones, whom head coach Bruce Arians came out and said the team would tag if a long-term deal could not be reached, which is a sentiment team president Michael Bidwill echoed. According to CBSSports’ Joel Corry, the one-year contract would pay Jones around $16.96 million as a defensive end or $14.75 million as a linebacker.

Beginning Feb. 15 and running through March 1, the Cardinals (and every other team) are eligible to designate franchise players, with free agency beginning in earnest on March 7.

Assuming Jones gets tagged, he will be the ninth player in the franchise’s history to earn the designation, with his being the 10th instance overall.

Here’s a look at some of the other players who the team has tagged in the past.

Tim McDonald - 1993McDonald had established himself as one of the game's better safeties, and was a Pro Bowler in 1989, 1991 and 1992. The team's leading tackler in 1992, he was tagged but ended up signing with the San Francisco 49ers after being part of a lawsuit with the NFL that led to a new free agency agreement.. As compensation for losing McDonald, the Cardinals received the 49ers' first-round pick in the '93 Draft (No. 20 overall), which they then sent back to SF in a trade for the No. 18 overall pick, lineman Earnest Dye. Rob Moore - 1999Acquired in a draft-day trade in 1995, Moore had established himself as the team's No. 1 receiver. He amassed 1,584 yards and eight touchdowns in 1997 and added 982 yards and five scores on 67 catches in 1998. Injuries limited him in 1999, though, with him catching just 37 passes for 621 yards and five touchdowns in what was his final NFL season. Simeon Rice - 2000Few pass rushers were as dominant as Rice during his day, as in his first four seasons he had amassed 44 sacks -- 16.5 of which came in 1999. Wanting out of the desert, Rice referred to Arizona as the "armpit of the NFL." He notched 7.5 sacks under the one-year deal in 2000 -- a season in which he played in 15 games but started just 11 due to his contract dispute. He signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the following season. Aeneas Williams - 2001One of the greatest players in the franchise's history, Williams' career was winding down when the team tagged him. In 2000, the veteran intercepted five passes, recovered two fumbles and helped get a stadium built. Williams was dealt to the St. Louis Rams on draft day in exchange for the Rams' second-round pick (No. 54 overall) and fourth-round pick (No. 123 overall), which the team turned into safety Michael Stone and defensive lineman Marcus Bell, respectively. Kwamie Lassiter - 2002An undrafted free agent who turned himself into a key member of the defense, Lassiter in 2001 intercepted nine passes, which was tops among NFL safeties, while also picking up 112 total  tackles and a sack. He picked off just two passes in 2002, however, though he did record 95 total tackles. Lassiter signed with the San Diego Chargers the following season. Arizona Cardinals' Karlos Dansby celebrates after the Cardinals defeated the Green Bay Packers 51-45 in overtime in an NFL wild-card playoff football game Sunday, Jan. 10, 2010, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York) Calais Campbell - 2012The Cardinals had every intention of signing Campbell to a multi-year contract in 2012, but wanted to extend their window to negotiate and therefore placed the tag on him. It made sense, as Campbell had a breakout 2011 with 72 total tackles and eight sacks, and was on his way to being one of the NFL's better defensive linemen. He was also on his way to that long-term contract, which was signed just a couple months later.



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Chandler Jones could be next in line for Cardinals to earn franchise tag