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Cardinals tender LBs Dennis Gardeck, Zeke Turner and Kylie Fitts

Arizona Cardinals linebacker Dennis Gardeck (45) reacts after sacking New York Jets quarterback Joe Flacco (5) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020, in East Rutherford. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Outside linebacker and special teams captain Dennis Gardeck has been tendered by the Arizona Cardinals, as have special teamers Zeke Turner and Kylie Fitts.

Arizona Sports’ John Gambadoro first reported Gardeck’s expected tender.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport adds that the tender is for the second-round level, slotting Gardeck to make $3.4 million and giving the Cardinals a second-round pick as compensation if he joins another team.

Rapoport also reports that Turner will be tendered at the right of first refusal level, which would pay him $2.1 million. That will give the Cardinals the ability to match a contract another team gives out to Turner, though there is no draft pick compensation involved if the inside linebacker leaves Arizona.

Turner and Gardeck were restricted free agents and were No. 1 and 2 in special teams snaps taken last season.

Fitts, who is also a backup outside linebacker, was an exclusive rights free agent.

Gardeck was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Sioux Falls in 2018, while Turner went undrafted out of Washington that same year.

Gardeck’s 2020 season came to an end in December due to an ACL injury that later required surgery.

In three seasons with the Cardinals, the 26-year-old Gardeck has amassed 34 combined tackles (28 solo), seven tackles for loss, 10 QB hits, seven sacks and two fumble recoveries in 44 appearances.

Gardeck is coming off of the best year of his career and for the first time played on defense. He was second on the team in sacks.

In 14 games, Gardeck played 94 snaps (9%) on the defensive side of the ball and 315 snaps (71%) on special teams. Turner is the only Cardinal that played more special team snaps last season with 348 (79%).

Turner posted 14 tackles and had a 26-yard reception on a fake punt last year.

NFL teams can keep restricted free agents by first placing a tender on them prior to free agency commencing on Wednesday.

Though teams can place different tenders on players depending on their value, any tender would commit at least $2 million for that player to return next season, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.


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