Calais Campbell’s potential game of tag

Defensive end Calais Campbell has not gotten a new contract yet. I’m guessing everyone realizes that, since it’d be big homepage news if he had and it clearly has not been news yet. The waiting game continues.

He is scheduled to become a free agent March 13, but no one believes that will happen. Either he will have a new contract by then, or the Cardinals are expected to use their franchise tag to buy time to get that new contract done. Campbell was in today, coming in to get in some work with the trainers, and he said he has thought “a little bit” about ending up with the tag.

“I mean, if that’s the worst-case scenario, it’s not too bad,” Campbell said. “The only thing that kind of sucks about it is that you don’t have security for the future. But I am one of those guys who kind of takes it as it comes. Whatever happens, happens. A long-term deal would be nice, if we can see eye-to-eye. But if it comes to the franchise tag, I really feel like it’s good. I’m still able to play football, I’m still living the dream.”

The franchise tag would be worth about $10.6 million in salary for Campbell in 2012 (down from the $13M defensive ends got last season if tagged, and $12.4M in 2010.) It’s a healthy jump from $600,000 in salary Campbell made this season, but a far cry from what would be the guaranteed money on a new deal, which would figure to be in the same $25M-$30M range of teammate Darnell Dockett got in 2010.

Still, the seven weeks between now and March 13 is an eternity in NFL terms. Much can still be accomplished before the tag comes into play. We wait to see if “eye-to-eye” can be reached.

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