Calais Campbell could return to finish career with Cardinals

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) Calais Campbell
(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) Calais Campbell /

The six-time Pro Bowler can end his NFL career where it started by signing a free-agent deal with the Arizona Cardinals in 2022.

Five years ago, the Arizona Cardinals front office was forced to make an incredibly difficult decision.

Chandler Jones and Calais Campbell, a pair of the defense’s most important pieces, were both entering free agency. There was only so much money to go around, so the club’s management was going to have to choose between the two.

As we all know, the Cards chose Jones, and Campbell ended up signing a four-year, $60 million contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Diehard Arizona fans were sad to see the defensive end go, but there’s now a possibility that Campbell could return to finish a brilliant NFL career with the franchise who drafted him.

Campbell excelled after leaving the Cardinals, playing well enough to be voted into four consecutive Pro Bowls. Campbell turned in three of the fantastic campaigns (2017-19) with the Jags, while the fourth of those outstanding seasons occurred while he was a member of the Baltimore Ravens in 2020.

Calais Campbell was a second-round pick of the Arizona Cardinals back in 2008

The Cards scouted Campbell at the University of Miami, nabbing the youngster during the second round of the 2008 draft. The 6-foot-8, 300-pounder lasted for nine years in the desert and was a two-time Pro Bowler (2014-15) during his time with “Big Red”.

For the past two seasons, Campbell has been the anchor of one of the league’s stingiest run defenses in Baltimore. The 35-year-old was the highest-rated member of the Ravens defensive unit last fall, and he ranked as the NFL’s eighth-best interior lineman.

Anyone who watched Arizona in 2021 knows that they struggled in defending the run. Bringing Campbell back into the mix could help to alleviate that problem.

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Considering his age, Campbell would probably be looking at a one or two-year deal on the open market. Teaming the Denver native with the sensational J.J. Watt would be an intriguing combination for the Cards, to say the least. Whether the organization will show any interest in reuniting with the veteran Campbell remains to be seen.