Jones is the first player league-wide to be designated as his team's franchise player, which will give him until July 15 to negotiate a long-term deal with the Cardinals. For a player at his position, if Jones is unable to secure such a deal by then, he'll be slated to play under a tender offer of over $14 million for the 2017 campaign. After being traded from the Patriots prior to this past season, Jones went on to post 49 tackles, 11 sacks, and four forced fumbles for the Cardinals. News of Jones' franchise tag comes on his 27th birthday, marking the prime of a career that's already included at least 11 sacks in three of the last four seasons.
Veldheer (triceps) is healthy and cleared to resume workouts, 12 News' Cameron Cox reports.
Veldheer finished the 2016 campaign on injured reserve after sustaining a partially torn triceps in late October. However, he recently implied he was cleared to resume weightlifting in late January or early February and should be back to full strength when offseason workouts commence in April.
After releasing Michael Floyd in mid-December, the Cardinals brought in Ross as wide receiver depth. Ross made appearances in the final two games of the season, the latter of which he hauled in all four targets for 37 yards and a touchdown during a 44-6 romping of the Rams. His likely ticket to sticking in Arizona is his return ability, as the Cardinals ranked 16th in average kickoff return and 30th in average punt return in 2016.
Less than one year removed from receiving little interest as a restricted free agent, Jefferson will likely garner offers left and right once organizations can contact unrestricted free agents on March 7. Before reaching the final days of the 2016 league year, though, the Cardinals can negotiate with the safety, who exploded for a career-best 96 tackles (78 solo), despite missing the season finale due to a Grade 2 MCL sprain. The organization is handcuffed due to the presence of fellow unrestricted free agent defenders Calais Campbell and Chandler Jones, hence the reason Jefferson is expected to be available upon the opening of free agency.
The NFL has entered the two-week stretch in which organizations can utilize both the franchise and transition tags, but decisions must be made by 4 PM ET on March 1. If the Cardinals make such a call, as expected, the two sides will have until July 15 to reach agreement on a multi-year contract. If terms aren't reached, though, Jones will play under a salary in excess of $15 million next season. No matter what comes to pass, he's slated to form a formidable pass-rushing duo with Markus Golden, who both reached double-digit sacks in 2016.