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Cardinals give safety Tony Jefferson low tender

Tony Jefferson had a pair of interceptions to go along with two sacks in 2015. Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Arizona Cardinals have made an initial offer to restricted free agent Tony Jefferson, according to multiple reports.

They tendered Jefferson with a right-of-first-refusal offer worth $1.671 million for the 2016 season. That allows the Cardinals to match any other offers Jefferson receives, but if Arizona opts not to match, it won’t receive compensation for Jefferson, who signed as an undrafted free agent from the University of Oklahoma in 2013.

Jefferson responded to the news with a tweet Wednesday afternoon.

Jefferson earned $585,000 last season, two years after making $415,100 as a rookie, a figure which included a $10,100 signing bonus.

Jefferson’s tender was first reported by Mike Jurecki of Fox Sports KGME-AM 910.

In three seasons, Jefferson has become an important and reliable part of Arizona’s secondary. He had two sacks, two interceptions and three forced fumbles in 2015 while starting seven games. In three seasons, he had 168 tackles, fifth among Cardinals defenders during that stretch, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

In 2014, a year after finishing with 18 tackles as a rookie, he filled in for safety Tyrann Mathieu for the first four games and led Arizona in tackles in the Honey Badger’s absence.