The Cardinals have said more than once that they will use their franchise tag on linebacker Chandler Jones if they are unable to reach agreement on a long-term deal before March 1, but he isn’t the only impending free agent they’d like to keep on their defense.
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic reports that the Cardinals are in “serious negotiations” to re-sign safety Tony Jefferson as well. Jefferson was a full-time starter for the first time in 2016 and recorded 96 tackles, two sacks and two forced fumbles over 15 games.
Eric Berry ranks at the top of the list of potential free agent safeties this offseason with Jefferson part of the next group of players on track to hit the open market. The chance to see what other teams might offer a 25-year-old with 63 games under his belt might be too much for Jefferson to resist.
There’s no word on whether the Cardinals would tag Jefferson if they can agree on a deal with Jones, but it would make it much likelier that he sticks in Arizona for a fifth season.