Calais Campbell, Cardinals making some progress toward a new deal

When free agency begins in early March, one of the biggest names on the market will be Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell.

If he gets there.

A fourth-year veteran who has flourished in defensive coordinator Ray Horton’s Pittsburgh-style defense, Campbell is on the Cardinals’ retention radar.  Per a league source, the two sides have passed the casual level in their talks and moved to intermediate.

The Cardinals like Campbell a lot, but the Cardinals historically haven’t devoted a bunch of money to home-grown products not named “Larry Fitzgerald.”

Campbell had a sack and a critical forced fumble on Saturday, knocking the ball loose from Bengals running back Cedric Benson during a close-but-no-cigar attempt to dig out of a 23-point hole.

If the Cardinals can’t sign Campbell to a long-term deal, don’t be surprised if they use the franchise tag.  They used the device to hold Karlos Dansby in place for two seasons, before letting him leave for Miami.

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