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Restricted Free Agent LaRod Stephens-Howling Likely To Get 1st Round Tender

The Arizona Cardinals have some key players they would like to have return in 2012 that are not currently under contract once the new league year begins this month. We know about Calais Campbell, but there is one little guy that the team is going to make sure sticks around at least another year. That would be 5-7 running back and kick returner LaRod Stephens-Howling.

Stephens-Howling, or "Hyphen" as many fans know him by, had two of the team's biggest plays of the season. His overtime TD reception won the game against the Dallas Cowboys and he also scored a 73-yard touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

His effectiveness in the return game was hampered by new rules, but he is a crucial part of the Cardinals' game planning.

It is such that XTRA 910's Mike Jurecki tweeted this after being asked about him:

This means that the Cards will pay him around $2 million dollars in 2012, but that other teams can make him offers. If the Cards want to retain him, they match the terms of the contract within a week and keep him. If they decide not to retain him, instead they get a first-round draft pick as compensation.

The tender will essentially make it so no team will want to make an offer. At the same time, though, it is indicative perhaps of the plans the team has for him in 2012.

Whatever those plans are, we all can expect to see the Hyphen back in Cardinal red. And that is definitely a positive thing.

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