Running back Kenyan Drake could become the tenth player in Arizona Cardinals history to be slapped with the franchise tag
This past October, the Arizona Cardinals managed to pull off one heck of a trade. Their newest acquisition, running back Kenyan Drake, racked up 643 rushing yards and eight touchdowns in just eight starts for his new squad. The 26-year old is obviously an excellent fit for the Cards “Air Raid” offense, but now general manager Steve Keim must find a way to re-sign the free agent ball-carrier.
Bringing Drake back to the nest may prove to be a challenging task, but the Cardinals could apply the franchise tag if the two sides fail to come to an agreement. The tag gives the club the right to match any offer that the former Miami Dolphin may receive on the open market. If Arizona elects not to do so, the organization that Drake joins would have to send two first-round draft picks to the desert as compensation.
Back in 1993, former safety Tim McDonald became the first Cardinal to be slapped with the franchise tag. In 1995, defensive tackle Eric Swann received the designation after tallying 71 tackles and seven sacks in 1994. The Cards took a five-year hiatus from the tag after applying it to Swann, but utilized it again in 1999 with wide receiver Rob Moore.
During the next offseason, pass-rusher extraordinaire Simeon Rice was Arizona’s franchise player. In 2001, shutdown cornerback Aeneas Williams was handed the tag after registering five interceptions and 11 passes defensed during the previous season. The late Kwamie Lassiter was franchised by the Cardinals in 2002 after collecting nine interceptions in ’01.
Inside linebacker Karlos Dansby was the recipient of the tag in back-to-back offseasons (2008-09). Defensive end Calais Campbell was the Cards franchise player in 2012 after amassing 72 tackles, eight sacks and 10 pass breakups in 2011. Edge rusher Chandler Jones was tagged five years later after recording 49 tackles and 11 sacks in 2016.
Will Drake become the next Cardinal to join the list? Keim and company will do their best to ink the valuable offensive weapon to a multi-year contract. If they fail to do that, however, it’s an almost certainty that the franchise tag will be utilized for the 10th time in team history.