It looks like the Cardinals defense will be down a couple of key players from last year’s unit when the team returns to work this offseason.
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic reports that word around the Scouting Combine this week is that the Cardinals will lose both defensive end Calais Campbell and safety Tony Jefferson as free agents. Per Somers, the players — who rank 10th and 14th on PFT’s list of the top 100 free agents — are “going to command more money” than the Cardinals will be willing or able to pay them to remain in Arizona.
Campbell’s departure would leave the Cardinals without a player that has been a fixture in the Arizona lineup since coming to the team as a second-round pick in 2008. Mike Klis of KUSA in Denver reported this week that the Broncos are expected to make a run at signing Campbell.
Jefferson hits free agency after the Cardinals signed Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu to long-term deals and at a moment when they used the franchise tag to lock up linebacker Chandler Jones and a fair chunk of cap space. That’s made his departure a likely outcome for some time.
Somers reports that re-signing safety D.J. Swearinger and tight end Jermaine Gresham would take on a higher priority if things play out as expected with Campbell and Jefferson.