Adrian Wilson gives Cardinals hometown discount on extension


It was easy enough to characterize Adrian Wilson’s new deal as an extension, because there are two more years on the end. But a closer look makes it obvious, this was a pay cut which will allow the popular  veteran to hang around.

According to Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic, Wilson’s $6.5 million salary was turned into a $1.5 million bonus, about another $1.5 million in salary and the chance to make up some of the difference in incentives.

I didn’t want to be a cap casualty,” Wilson said, “And at the same time, I didn’t want to go out and play for another team. I can’t put my heart into another team like I have this team.”

Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt called it “an unselfish move,” by Wilson.

“If you look at a lot of successful teams in the league, they have players that put the team first,”Whisenhunt said. “It gives us flexibility with the cap, as well as a chance to get our team better. It means a lot.”

Wilson’s been with the Cardinals since 2001, making him the longest-tenured player on the roster. And he couldn’t imagine leaving, even if it meant taking less money to do so.

“I’m not mad about it,” Wilson said. “That’s just business. I can earn that money back and then some if I go out there and play Adrian Wilson football.”

The 33-year-old safety played through a torn biceps tendon last year, but still made his fourth straight Pro Bowl.

Now the interesting part will be whether the Cardinals re-invest the savings into helping the team, or whether they just squeezed Wilson because they could.

UPDATE: 11:30 a.m. ET: Somers has the full breakdown here. And as expected, this is nothing short of a major haircut for Wilson. He loses $10 million in base salary, and has a $1 million roster bonus due next March, which will represent a decision-making point for the team. His $2.5 million base in 2013 is guaranteed for injury only.

7 responses to “Adrian Wilson gives Cardinals hometown discount on extension

  1. I wish we had 52 more Adrian Wilsons!!! I hope that other players look at him and follow in his footsteps…

  2. This guy has been one of the most overrated safeties in the last decade. He’s a glorified box safety with good blitzing ability, but yet he seems to sneak into the pro bowl every year, due to the fact of the lack of elite playmakers at the safety position in the NFC.

  3. I love this guy. Things have truly changed when a veteran takes a paycut to stay with the Cardinals. Wilson helped change the culture here. He’s also a quality person and family man who has always avoided trouble. It was hard to read that he took a “haircut” as he deserves every penny. He’s earned it and then some. I think he’s taken care of his finances his whole career to be in a position where money matters less than retiring a Cardinal.

  4. While that’s great, the team would not think twice about cutting him before the roster bonus if they conclude it’s in the team’s best interest. They will not care what he did to rework his contract. I’m not knocking the team–it’s business.

  5. Damned shame. So a guy plays all last season not missing a single game with an injury that most people would have missed the entire year and they “reward” him with a pay cut? How classless. Taking one for the team means absolutely nothing in the NFL.

  6. Coming from a Seahawks fan, I applaud Adrian Wilson for making it work for the team, the fans and himself.

    The NFL needs more players like him – a true baller and a genuine leader on and off the field. Congrats Zona and AWilson.

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