Wilson gets new deal from Cardinals

Updated: June 5, 2009, 7:40 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

PHOENIX -- The Arizona Cardinals have signed safety Adrian Wilson.

The deal is worth $39 million, with $18.5 million guaranteed.

ESPN.com's Len Pasquarelli reported the new contract is actually a four-year extension, added to the one remaining season on Wilson's previous contract. And under some formulas used in characterizing contracts, Wilson will become the highest-paid safety in the league.

Wilson was scheduled to make $4.75 million in 2009.

"The main point was we wanted to extend our relationship with a great football player," general manager Rod Graves said after a news conference to announce the signing.

"But I think the signing does indicate in many other ways the idea that you want to reward players who do things the right way," Graves said, "who are committed to excellence and who represent your organization exceptionally well."

Wilson
Wilson

Wilson is the hard-hitting leader of the Cardinals' defense and was a Pro Bowl selection in the 2006 and 2008 seasons. His old contract was due to expire after the coming season, and re-signing him was the Cardinals' top offseason priority.

With his wife and two young children looking on, Wilson thanked those who had helped him along the way and outlined his goals for what he said probably will be the final contract of his career.

"I can't put into words exactly how I feel right now," Wilson said. "Every time I step on the field at the new stadium I look at all the names, the Ring of Honor and all that, and always say that one day I want my number up there, I want my number up there beside Aeneas [Williams], I want my number up there next to Pat [Tillman]."

The 29-year-old, entering his ninth NFL season, has 18 career interceptions and 18½ sacks. Only eight players in NFL history have at least 20 interceptions and 20 sacks.

His top goal, though, is to win a Super Bowl, something that would have seemed ridiculous before the team's surprising near-miss last season.

"We as a team worked so hard to get to where we were last year," Wilson said, "and to not be able to finish it, I think it makes us that much hungrier to get back to where we were and finish the deal."

Next on Arizona's list is a long-term deal for linebacker Karlos Dansby, who has been designated the team's franchise player for the second year in a row.

"He paved the way for us. He's been here the longest and he's just shown us how to get it done," Dansby said, "how to get it done the right way, and everybody's taking note right now. It's a blessed day for him and his family."

Dansby said he's hopeful "to follow maybe in his footsteps and do the things the right way."

Once that happens, Graves has said he will turn his attention to trying to work out a new deal with disgruntled Pro Bowl wide receiver Anquan Boldin.

Boldin, who has asked to be traded, recently fired agent Drew Rosenhaus. While the NFL Players Association said Thursday that Boldin had not officially hired a replacement, Graves said he already has talked with agent Tom Condon about Boldin, indicating Condon would be the receiver's new agent.

In 2006, Wilson became the first defensive player in NFL history with two touchdown plays of at least 99 yards in the same season, one on an interception and another on a fumble return.

Wilson has been with the Cardinals longer than any other player on their roster, experiencing some rough years of losing before the team's unexpected run to the Super Bowl last season. Arizona drafted him out of North Carolina State in the third round in 2001. He signed a five-year deal with the team in 2005.

He's started 110 of his 118 games, compiling 651 career tackles, 481 of them solo, along with 63 pass deflections, 10 forced fumbles and seven fumble recoveries. Last season, Wilson had 85 tackles, 2½ sacks and two interceptions.

In the team's four playoff games last season, the had 20 tackles and two forced fumbles.

A fierce pass rusher, he knocked Buffalo quarterback Trent Edwards out of the game with a concussion on the third play of Arizona's 41-17 victory over the Bills last Oct. 5.

"I think in the end," Graves said, "he'll be recognized as not only one of the best players today, but one of the best players to have played the game."

ESPN.com's NFL senior writers John Clayton and Len Pasquarelli contributed to this report. Information from the Associated Press was also used in this report.