The Arizona Cardinals will reportedly not be placing the franchise tag on outside linebacker Haason Reddick, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Arizona opted against triggering Reddick’s fifth-year option on his rookie deal before the 2020 season, but the 2017 first-round pick thrived playing at outside linebacker. It was his first pro season without a coaching change or position switch before or during the year.
As a rookie, he changed positions under then-head coach Bruce Arians and defensive coordinator James Bettcher. In 2018, Reddick struggled to pick up the inside linebacker role under head coach Steve Wilks’ 4-3 defense, and last year, Reddick started as an off-ball linebacker for DC Vance Joseph and made the move to pass-rusher late in the year.
Heading into 2020 knowing he would be at outside linebacker, Reddick came ready.
Reddick tied for fourth in the NFL with a 12.5-sack season, adding 63 tackles (20 for loss) and six forced fumbles.
“I’ve said it all along, how much respect I have for him, the perseverance he’s shown,” head coach Kliff Kingsbury said after Reddick set the Cardinals’ franchise sack record in Week 14. “We tried to make him a standup linebacker the past three years — it’s just not his deal.
“A guy like that, who stuck to it, who didn’t let the noise get him down, didn’t let any sort of frustration to get him down … to have a game like that, you couldn’t be happier for him.”
During that 26-7 Arizona win over the New York Giants, Reddick set a new franchise record with five sacks in a single game, which surpassed Curtis Greer’s 4.5-sack mark that dated back to 1983.
NextGenStats had Reddick accounting for a career-high nine QB pressures to go along with his sack total on 22 pass rushes. His 40.9% pressure rate was the highest in a single outing since 2016 for defensive players with at least 20 pass rushes.
After the game, Reddick’s emotions got the best of him.
“This whole year has just been important to me, to see things going in the way that I want them to (be) going,” Reddick said.
He just needed a little more opportunity to reach that breakout moment.
Reddick began the 2020 season as a backup behind Chandler Jones and free agent addition Devon Kennard. Jones was lost in Week 5 due to a biceps tear, while Kennard battled injury and inconsistency. By the end of the year, Reddick, trade addition Markus Golden, Dennis Gardeck, Kylie Fitts and Kennard filled out the outside linebacker rotation.
Among those outside backers, only Jones and Kennard remained under contract for 2021 when this past season ended.
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