There was a time not so long ago when it seemed like this offseason, the Cardinals would need to use the franchise tag. There was a point where it looked like it might get sticky in the extension negotiations for running back David Johnson, and then something might have to be done with pass rusher Markus Golden.
We know how that turned out. Johnson ended up getting his contract extension long before he closed in on free agency. Golden, unfortunately, suffered a torn ACL and while he is working his way back, the franchise tag was all but taken out of play because of the injury.
As franchise tag season began for the league this week, however, it would seem that the tag likely wouldn't impact the Cardinals even beyond their own non-usage. The vast majority of the players who might get tagged (teams have until March 5 to do so) seem to be pass rushers -- of which the Cardinals can get a very good one in the first round of the draft -- or positions at which they don't necessarily need to look. It's never great when players you really would want to sign are taken out of the loop.
The Cardinals already have had a jump on free agency, bringing in guys like Robert Alford, Brooks Reed and Charles Clay to help beef up the roster. I wouldn't be surprised if there are key free agents targeted as starters -- you'd think the offensive line will be a priority. And, in terms of the Cards' own free agents, there is a still a chance a couple of those unrestricted guys could return. I, for one, am interested to see what the market is for Golden. But this year, there really isn't any franchise tag intrigue on any level for the Cardinals, and that's probably a good thing.