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An Early Deal, But Not For Dansby


Rookie wide receiver Early Doucet agreed to a three-year contract Tuesday.

The Cardinals locked up under contract another of their rookies Tuesday, as the reality of not getting a long-term deal done with linebacker Karlos Dansby moved to permanent status.

Wide receiver Early Doucet, the Cardinals' third-round choice and first of the second day of the draft, agreed to a three-year contract, leaving only top pick Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and second-rounder Calais Campbell unsigned.

The Cardinals, as usual, declined to announce financial terms.

The deadline for a Dansby extension hit at 1 p.m. Arizona time. Both sides realized for a time that their philosophically opposed ideas of Dansby's worth would make an extension unlikely. Dansby will play the season under his $8.065 million one-year tender offer.

The franchise now cannot extend Dansby's contract until after the Cards' regular-season finale Dec. 28, although they can engage in negotiations. Dansby will be scheduled to become a free agent at the beginning of March. The team could use its franchise tag on Dansby for a second straight year if it so chose.

Dansby's plight is not unusual. Of the 12 players given a franchise tag by teams this offseason, seven will be playing under one-year deals having not signed extensions by Tuesday's deadline.

Of the five that did sign extensions, two – defensive linemen Jared Allen and Corey Williams – were traded before receiving multi-year contracts.

As for the Cards' remaining unsigned rookies, signing Rodgers-Cromartie and Campbell is more complicated than in recent years because of the looming uncapped years that would take place after 2009. Campbell is expected, like previous Cardinals' second-rounders, to get a four-year contract while Rodgers-Cromartie's deal will be either five or six seasons.

The Cardinals, who want to have all rookies in the fold before training camp, report to Flagstaff July 23.

Doucet's addition gives the Cards exactly 80 players under contract on the roster, the league limit – meaning two players must be released when Rodgers-Cromartie and Campbell are signed.

Doucet is expected to battle for the vacant third receiver spot left open when Bryant Johnson left in free agency. Among his competitors are Steve Breaston, Jerheme Urban and Sean Morey.

Contact Darren Urban at Posted 7/15/08. Updated 7/15/08.

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