Cardinals place franchise tag on linebacker Dansby

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Arizona Cardinals have placed the
"non-exclusive" franchise tag on linebacker Karlos Dansby, the
team said Thursday.

The move means Dansby has been offered a one-year deal worth
just over $8 million, the average salary of the five highest-paid
linebackers in the NFL last season. The Cardinals can continue to
negotiate a long-term deal through July 15. If Dansby signs an
offer sheet from another team, Arizona can match it or receive two
first-round draft picks as compensation.

General manager Rod Graves called applying the franchise tag "a

"It allows us to retain his rights to some degree and continue
to negotiate with him for a long-term deal," Graves told The
Associated Press.

He said he is optimistic a multiyear agreement can be reached.
Graves said he spoke with Dansby's agent Kirk Wood on Thursday.

"As I've said before, my discussions with Kirk Wood have been
favorable," Graves said. "There was no surprise on either side,
and we anticipated it even as far back as a month ago."

Dansby led the team in tackles with 117 despite missing two
games because of injury. He also had 3½ sacks, three interceptions
and four forced fumbles.

The 6-foot-4, 250-pound player moved from outside linebacker to
inside under new coach Ken Whisenhunt last season to make better
use of his speed and playmaking ability. A second-round draft pick
out of Auburn in 2004, Dansby has 382 tackles in 58 NFL games.

The Cardinals were reluctant to sign Dansby to an extension
before last season because of his history of injuries, but were not
going to allow him to leave after his strong 2007 season. The
Cardinals last used their franchise tag in 2002 on safety Kwame