Love: Extension a 'blessing'

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Love: Extension a 'blessing'

Kyle Love's nose-to-the-grindstone approach has served him well the last two years.

The undrafted free agent was a backup at defensive tackle his rookie year. In 2011, he earned 13 regular season starts in 16 games played as an imposing presence against the run.

The Patriots rewarded Love's work with a contract extension last week. Instead of riding this year's 540,000 exclusive-rights free agent tender out into uncertainty, he's now signed through 2013 on a new deal worth almost 3.1 million.

"It's a blessing," Love said Sunday via conference call. "I just want to continue to work hard, play hard, and keep doing my role -- whatever the coaches ask me to do. I want to continue down that road."

The timing of the extension was likely influenced by New England's release of Jonathan Fanene. But that doesn't mean Love hasn't made a case all his own this preseason.

After joint practice, he had Saints guard Ben Grubbs talking on and on about his power.

He created plenty of problems (in limited snaps) for Philadelphia's offensive line in Game 2.

When the first team defense took the field last week in Tampa, Love was there. It's where he's projected to be all season.

To most, the 25-year old tackle has come a long way from Mississippi State -- his game is bigger, his wallet is bigger.

Love sees it as the same old grind.

"Nothing really changes for me. I just want to keep doing my job and getting better every day. Working harder, and playing harder and faster. I just want to continue doing what I've been doing."

Mike Giardi: Don’t think Patriots will use franchise tag on Dont'a Hightower

Mike Giardi: Don’t think Patriots will use franchise tag on Dont'a Hightower

Mike Giardi discusses the odds that the New England Patriots franchise tag Dont'a Hightower and what he expects the Pats to get if they were to trade Jimmy Garoppolo.

Arizona Cardinals place franchise tag on Chandler Jones

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Arizona Cardinals place franchise tag on Chandler Jones

PHOENIX - The Arizona Cardinals, in an anticipated move, have placed a non-exclusive franchise tag on outside linebacker Chandler Jones after failing to reach a long-term deal with the player.

The non-exclusive tag allows the Cardinals to continue negotiating with Jones through July 15. If another team makes him an offer, Arizona can either match it or receive two first-round draft picks.

It's unlikely that any team would express interest in Jones, however, given what it would cost.

Under the franchise tag, Jones would receive about $15 million for the coming season.

Acquired in a trade with New England a year ago, Jones had 11 sacks, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and 15 tackles for loss last season

Jones has 25 1-2 sacks over the past two seasons, third-most in the NFL over that span.

The Cardinals' move came two days before the NFL deadline for making franchise designations.

It also came on Jones' 27th birthday, prompting teammate David Johnson to tweet "Happy BDay to `The Man,' `Mr. Franchise' himself.....The one and only."

The franchise tag move came as no surprise.

Club President Michael Bidwill has stated all along that Jones would not be going anywhere, that the team didn't make the trade - sending guard Jonathan Cooper and a second-round draft pick to New England - to keep him just for one season.

"We're not going to mess around with that," Bidwill said in a recent interview on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. "He's a great pass rusher, but if we can't agree to terms that work for us, we're just going to franchise him, and his people know that."

Jones immediately upgraded what had been an average Cardinals pass rush at best. His fellow outside linebacker Markus Golden had 12 1-2 sacks and seven tackles for loss. Together they form one of the better outside pass rush combinations in the NFL.

By all accounts, the contract talks with Jones have been cordial and Jones has said he wants to stay in Arizona.

"I love it here," he said near the end of last season. "I love the vibe that the people give off and I can see myself being here for a long time."

Chandler heads a long list of free agents that the Cardinals must either re-sign or let go. That group includes starters defensive tackle Calais Campbell, safety Tony Jefferson and inside linebacker Kevin Minter.