The impending free agent is playing well so the Arizona Cardinals may decide keeping Campbell in the desert is the way to go
The Arizona Cardinals must have known they were getting a steal. Back in 2008, a 6’8″, 300 pound defensive end fell to them in the second round of the NFL Draft. That player, Calais Campbell, will go down as one of the finest Cardinals in team history.
Now, eight years later, Campbell’s latest contract is getting ready to expire. He boasts a sparkling resume which includes two Pro Bowl appearances. He’s now 30 years old, but is showing very few signs of slowing down this season.
Besides being an excellent leader on and off the field, Campbell’s production has been stellar. Through 12 games, he has tallied 39 tackles, four sacks, an interception and six passes defensed. His strip sack of Kirk Cousins last Sunday was a huge play in the Cards’ victory over the Washington Redskins.
Despite all the positives, Campbell remaining in Arizona past this season is far from a sure thing. The Cardinals 2017 list of free agents is a long one. In the age of the salary cap, teams must sometimes say goodbye to players that they would prefer to retain.
Another factor to consider is that Campbell could be one of the most sought after free agents of the offseason. General manager Steve Keim may have to engage in a bidding war to keep him around. That could drive the nine-year veteran’s price tag up to a level that may be too high for Arizona.
Of course, the franchise tag is always a possibility. But Campbell may not be the only Cardinals’ free agent worthy of being slapped with the tag. There’s a good chance it could applied to a player such as outside linebacker Chandler Jones, their stud pass rusher.
Not only has Campbell been one of Arizona’s best defenders over the last nine years, he’s also an excellent person. It would be a shame if he was to bolt for another club, but the NFL is in reality a business. Here’s hoping that Keim and company can hang onto one of the greatest players to ever don a Cardinals’ uniform.