Cards cut James after drafting Wells

Updated: April 29, 2009, 8:55 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

PHOENIX -- The Arizona Cardinals granted running back Edgerrin James' wish to be released on Tuesday and cut two others who played significant roles in the team's run to the Super Bowl.

While James' move was anticipated, the release of cornerback Rod Hood and defensive end Travis LaBoy was not.

The moves clear salary cap space for the Cardinals, who want to sign new deals with linebacker Karlos Dansby and safety Adrian Wilson, and eventually with unhappy wide receiver Anquan Boldin.

James, Hood and LaBoy combined were to have made $10 million next season, but because of the $7.5 million signing bonus given to LaBoy a year ago, the cap savings will be several million dollars less than what the three would have earned. Still, it gives spending room to a franchise that had been just below the salary ceiling.

"Edgerrin James had a great run in Arizona and now it is time for him to continue his Hall of Fame career elsewhere," James' agent Drew Rosenhaus told ESPN.com's John Clayton. "One of his goals was to help the Cardinals get to a Super Bowl and he is eager to help another team get to that same level. Edgerrin is excited about signing with a new team. So far, several teams have expressed interest and we may have a deal in place in the very near future."

James had 794 carries for 2,895 yards and 16 touchdowns in his three seasons in Arizona. He topped 1,000 yards in 2006 and 2007, and his resurgence during last season's playoffs gave Arizona the running game it had sorely lacked.

He was benched for seven games earlier in 2008, the first time that's happened in his career, and he asked the team to release him then. The Cardinals refused, and he was reinserted into the lineup late in the season.

Despite it being such a difficult year, it led to James' only Super Bowl.

James had sought his release early in the free agency period, but the Cardinals held off until after last weekend's draft, where they chose Ohio State running back Chris "Beanie" Wells in the first round, the No. 31 pick overall. Wells and second-year pro Tim Hightower are expected to be Arizona's featured backs in the coming season.

James, 30, had one year left, at $5 million, on the four-year, $40 million deal he signed with Arizona before the 2006 season. He recently experienced a personal tragedy with the death of his longtime girlfriend, and mother of his four children, of leukemia at age 30.

In his 10-year career, James has rushed for 12,121 yards, 11th on the NFL career list and first among active players.

Hood appeared in 31 games, 30 as a starter, since signing with Arizona as a free agent in 2007. He had 105 tackles and six interceptions. The Cardinals added a cornerback in free agency by signing Bryant McFadden, then drafted Greg Toler out of tiny St. Paul's College of Virginia in the fourth round on Sunday.

Super Bowl XLIII: Edgerrin James highlights

NFL.com Video

Edgerrin James rushes for 33 yards and has 28 more on pass receptions in Super Bowl XLIII.

LaBoy, who played four seasons for the Tennessee Titans, signed a five-year, $22 million contract, with about $7.5 million guaranteed, with Arizona before the 2008 season. He played in 13 games with 38 tackles, four sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery in his lone season with the Cardinals.

Coach Ken Whisenhunt wasn't available for comment, but issued a statement through the team.

"It's never easy to release veteran players who have contributed to the team's success, and these three individuals certainly fall into that category," he said. "But like every decision we make, it simply comes down to what is in the best interest of our football team and what gives us the best chance for success. We're grateful to all three of them for their contributions and wish them nothing but the best in the future."

The team's minicamp starts on Friday.

Information from ESPN.com senior NFL writer John Clayton and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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