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Under the new collective bargaining agreement, Campbell stands to make $10.6 million in 2012 if he can't agree to a long-term deal with the Cardinals. The franchise tag in 2011 for defensive ends was worth $13 million.
"We've made no secret of the high regard in which we hold Calais," Cardinals general manager Rod Graves said in a release. "To be clear, reaching a long-term deal that will keep Calais with the Cardinals for years to come remains our primary objective. This move today allows us the opportunity to continue working with Calais and his agent toward that goal and that's exactly what we will do."
Campbell, a starter the past three seasons for the Cardinals, totaled 72 tackles and eight sacks in 2011.
The Cardinals can continue to negotiate a long-term deal with Campbell through July 16. The tag is non-exclusive, meaning another team can sign him to an offer sheet. If that were to happen, Arizona would have the right to match it or receive two first-round draft picks as compensation.
In January, Campbell told the team's official website that he was aware he might be franchised this offseason, something he wasn't too upset about.
"I mean, if that's the worst-case scenario, it's not too bad," Campbell said. "The only thing that kind of sucks about it is that you don't have security for the future. But I am one of those guys who kind of takes it as it comes. Whatever happens, happens. A long-term deal would be nice, if we can see eye-to-eye. But if it comes to the franchise tag, I really feel like it's good. I'm still able to play football, I'm still living the dream."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.