Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports

Report: Arizona to lose Campbell, Jefferson

According to reports, Arizona is set to officially lose defensive lineman Calais Campbell and free safety Tony Jefferson in free agency on Thursday.

Free agency hasn't even begun yet, but the Arizona Cardinals have already taken a few hits.

When the NFL's legal tampering window opened Tuesday, teams were free to begin negotiating with free agents-to-be from other organizations, which includes players like defensive lineman Calais Campbell and safety Tony Jefferson.

Even though the 48-hour window for teams to negotiate was condensed this year, according to reports, Campbell and Jefferson wasted no time finding new homes as both players are expected to officially be on their way out of Arizona on Thursday.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Campbell has agreed to a multi-year contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars while Jefferson passed up a larger offer from the Cleveland Browns and will sign with the Baltimore Ravens.

According to CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora, Campbell's deal with the Jaguars will average upward of $14 million per seasons, nearly $4 million more than the Cardinals reportedly offered Campbell on an annual basis to stick with the franchise.

Terms of Jefferson's deal have not been leaked, but multiple reports earlier in the week suggested Jefferson could earn upward of $10 million per season on the free agent market. 

Both Campbell and Jefferson have spent the entirety of their NFL careers in Arizona, with Campbell playing in the desert for the last nine seasons while Jefferson has served as a Cardinals' safety for the last four years. 

Campbell is a two-time Pro Bowler who has recorded 56.5 sacks over the last nine years, including 8.0 sacks in 2016, while Jefferson is a former undrafted free agent who took over the spotlight in 2016 as Arizona's most consistent defender.

Jefferson wound up leading Arizona with a career-high 96 tackles this season and was one of the league's highest-graded safeties according to Pro Football Focus.

With both free agents reportedly on their way out of Arizona, the franchise can now focus on retaining the other players on its roster that general manager Steve Keim and head coach Bruce Arians hope to keep next season. Earlier this week, the Cardinals re-signed tight end Jermaine Gresham to a four-year contract extension and now are reportedly in serious talks with pass rusher Chandler Jones on finalizing a five-year contract. 

Jones has already been franchise tagged, so he will remain in Arizona for the 2017 season regardless of whether the two sides can negotiate a deal. 

Free agency is set to open Thursday at 4 p.m. eastern time and 2 p.m. in Arizona. 


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