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Tony Jefferson, RFAs Get Tender Offers

Team gets chance to match any offers to Jefferson, Swearinger, Jaron Brown


Cardinals safety Tony Jefferson, who will be a restricted free agent, was tendered an offer by the team.

The Cardinals have given tender offers to all three of their remaining restricted free agents.

The team announced Thursday they had extended contracts to safety Tony Jefferson, safety D.J. Swearinger and wide receiver Jaron Brown. The Cardinals also tendered a pair of exclusive rights free agents: defensive tackle Josh Mauro and tight end Ifeanyi Momah.

The Cardinals did not say at what level they tendered their restricted free agents, although USA Today reported all three got the low tender of $1.67 million.

In the case of Mauro and Momah, it means both will be back for another season. The other three have the option, as long as they wait to sign their tenders, to negotiate with other teams.

With all three players, if they were to draw an offer sheet from another team, the Cardinals would have the right to match the contract. There were three options: Right of First Refusal/original draft status ($1.67 million),

second-round pick ($2.55M) and first-round pick ($3.63M).

In every option, the Cardinals have the right to match an offer sheet any of the RFAs might sign.

Punter Drew Butler had been the team's only other restricted free agent, but he signed a new contract last month.

Since Jefferson was originally undrafted, if he were to sign an offer sheet from another team and the Cardinals did not match it, he would leave and the Cards would receive no compensation.

It is a mild surprise, given the work Jefferson got in the Cardinals' defense and the uncertainty of fellow safeties Rashad Johnson (unrestricted free agent) and Tyrann Mathieu (coming off an ACL tear.)

Jefferson was fourth on the team with 75 tackles, adding two sacks and two interceptions, starting seven games. He was the team's leading tackler in the postseason as well.

Like Jefferson, Brown was an undrafted rookie, which would provide no compensation if Brown left assuming he received the ROFR level. Swearinger is a former second-round pick, so even at the low tender a team would have to surrender a second-rounder to sign him away.

Swearinger played in the final four regular-season games after being signed late, and both postseason games. Brown, who plays a key role on special teams, had 11 receptions for 144 yards and one touchdown.

Mauro played in 14 games, starting four, and continued to show improvement on the defensive line. Momah had a solid training camp before he was lost for the season with a knee injury late in the preseason. 

Images of the Cardinals defenders with interceptions in 2015

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