The Arizona Cardinals are trying to take care of their own.
Along with standout pass-rusher Chandler Jones, who the team has openly said will receive the franchise tag if a long-term deal can't be reached, Arizona is in "serious negotiations" with safety Tony Jefferson, a source told Kent Somers of AZ Central Sports.
The Cardinals gambled with Jefferson last offseason by giving him an original-round restricted free-agent tender that came with nothing more than the right of first refusal.
Now one year later, teams around the league are presumably regretting the decision to not swoop in and sign him away without surrendering any sort of draft-pick compensation.
Jefferson is likely now in line for a major payday after putting together the most productive season of his career under the one-year tender, racking up 96 tackles, five passes defensed, and a pair of sacks across 15 games.
Getting him under contract before the start of free agency is the ideal scenario for the Cardinals. The two sides would almost certainly continue to exchange numbers when the market officially opens, but other teams getting involved in the bidding could conceivably put the 25-year-old's price tag through the roof.
Jefferson would return to a starting role alongside Tyrann Mathieu if re-signed in the coming weeks, again giving Arizona one of the league's most talented young safety tandems.