Report: Haason Reddick Won't Be Franchise-Tagged by Cardinals Ahead of Deadline

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMarch 9, 2021

Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker Haason Reddick (43) against the Philadelphia Eagles during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

The Arizona Cardinals will not use the franchise tag on linebacker Haason Reddick ahead of Tuesday's 4 p.m. ET deadline, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter, allowing him to become a free agent.

The news was largely expected after the Cardinals agreed to a two-year contract with J.J. Watt.

After struggling his first three NFL seasons, Reddick broke out in 2020, recording 63 tackles, 12.5 sacks and six forced fumbles. He had just 7.5 sacks and three forced fumbles in his first three seasons.

The Cardinals are projected to have $12.6 million in cap space, so using the franchise tag on Reddick would have limited their maneuverability this offseason. While they'll probably make moves ahead of free agency and the draft to give themselves more breathing room, retaining Reddick was not a priority as the franchise-tag deadline approached.

Should he leave in free agency, his new team may continue to see the fruits of Arizona's developmental labor or could discover he was a one-year wonder. Reddick's history of questionable production may limit the number of teams willing to fork over considerable capital.

However, the scarcity of pass-rushers on the open market should grant him a strong multiyear deal once free agency opens. That said, while Reddick got an above-average grade of 72.8 from Pro Football Focus during his breakout 2020 season, his grades from his first three seasons rated him as one of the most disappointing first-round picks of the 2017 draft.