The Cardinals didn't use the franchise (or transition) tag before Tuesday's deadline, a move that was not unexpected given the lofty price of such a tag.
What it means is that pass rusher Haason Reddick -- who was the most likely to get the tag if used -- will hit the open market in free agency. The "legal" tampering period begins March 15, with the official free agent period starting March 17.
Reddick, cornerback Patrick Peterson and running back Kenyan Drake, the latter of whom received a transition tag a year ago, all will be available as unrestricted free agents. Reddick, who had a breakout season of 12.5 sacks and is only 26 years old, figures to draw interest.
GM Steve Keim said earlier in the offseason in regard to potentially using the tag that "we'll evaluate everything," but the tight cap made that unrealistic. The final salary cap has not been finalized, and by extension, neither have the final tag numbers for each position. But the Cards right now are expected to have between $12.5 million and $15 million in space, and a tag for Reddick is expected to exceed $15M.
The signing of J.J. Watt last week also changed the dynamics of not only the remaining cap but the urgency of keeping an extra pass rusher. Fellow pass rushers Markus Golden and Dennis Gardeck (restricted) are also scheduled to reach free agency as well, although neither are expected to command as much money as Reddick.
There were 10 franchise tags utilized around the league prior to Tuesday's deadline:
- Broncos S Justin Simmons
- Panthers T Taylor Moton
- WFT G Brandon Scherff
- Jets S Marcus Maye
- Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin
- Jaguars T Cam Robinson
- Bears WR Allen Robinson
- Giants DT Leonard Williams
- Saints S Marcus Williams
- Cowboys QB Dak Prescott* (Prescott has already agreed to a new contract and this is a placeholder.)