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.