The Arizona Cardinals agreed to terms on a contract extension with strong safety Adrian Wilson, the Associated Press reported Thursday afternoon. The deal extends his current contract, which has one year remaining, by an additional four years. In an article on ESPN.com announcing the deal, John Clayton said a source told him the deal would be worth $36.5 million.
I listened to the broadcast of the team’s press conference announcing the deal on a local sports radio station in the Phoenix area.
At the press conference Thursday afternoon, Cardinals General Manager Rod Graves said that Wilson has “bought into the program here (in Arizona) from day one.”
Wilson spoke about how he hoped his decision would serve as an example for the younger players on the team. He added that he has always put in a lot of hard work and dedication, and regardless of whether the contract extension got done, that did not change this off-season and would not have changed during the season.
“For me it wasn’t an issue,” Wilson said in response to a reporter’s question about his contract status. “I go about my business and put a lot of hard work into my off-season training. The contract won’t reflect the way I play. I feel I’ll outplay my contract.”
Wilson added that he often looks at the Ring of Honor at University of Phoenix Stadium and envisions eventually seeing his number there, near those of Aeneas Williams and Pat Tillman. The chance to stay with one team for his entire career also appealed to him, because it allows him to build a legacy.
Wilson’s deal, and his decision not to go public about the negotiations, are in stark contrast to the decisions made by Anquan Boldin. Whether or not that impacted the speed of the negotiations is unknown.
The deal could also be the first domino to fall in the last (maybe) chapter of the Boldin saga. Graves and head coach Ken Whisenhunt have said that signing Boldin is a priority, but that signing Wilson and linebacker Karlos Dansby, who is in the final year of his contract, had to be done first.
It is unclear whether or not Dansby is interested in re-signing this off-season, as he may feel that he will get a more lucrative contract next off-season. If that is the case, the negotiations with Boldin could begin to pick up in the near future.
However, an additional factor may delay the Boldin negotiations: Salary cap restrictions. The team does not have much breathing room under the 2009 cap at the moment, but once the 2009 season starts they can become more creative in their dealings with regards to the 2010 salary cap.
Either way, the contract extension for Wilson is a good sign for the Cardinals, as it allows them to keep the “face” of their defense in a Cardinal uniform, potentially for the entire length of his career, an ever-growing rarity in the modern world of professional sports.