The five-time Pro Bowler has spent his entire career in Arizona, and Wilson had been a full-time starter since 2002. But his performance fell off last season, and toward the end of the year, he seemed to become more expendable.
And during the team's 58-0 loss to Seattle, Wilson barely played in the second half.
“This is the lowest of the low, to be quite honest with you,” Wilson said in December. “Something like this will make you not want to play anymore. …
Of his diminished playing time, Wilson said: “It hurts. They can give you 1,000 reasons why that is, but I know I can still play football. It's tough right now.”
At the point he lost his playing time, Wilson said he would ponder his future. If he decides, in fact, to continue his career, the 33-year-old Wilson probably will have to sign a bargain contract (even though he has a place in our top-100 free agents list).
Wilson was scheduled to make a base salary of $2.5 million with a $1 million roster bonus due later this month. His salary cap figure for 2013 was $4.925 million, but he also has $1.925 million in dead money, meaning the team will save $3 million on its cap.
“All of us thank Adrian for what he has meant not only to our organization but also to this community,” Cardinals president Michael Bidwill said in a statement. “In every franchise, there is a select group of players whose contributions earn them iconic status and for us, Adrian Wilson will always be one of those players. He joined us at a key time in our organization's evolution and helped lead us into a new era. We will always be grateful for that and look forward to the day when he's placed in the Ring of Honor at University of Phoenix Stadium alongside the other all-time great Cardinals.”
“Decisions like this are never easy but it's especially tough with someone like Adrian because he's been such a special player and important part of this organization for the last 12 years,” said Cardinals general manager Steve Keim. “He and I have a long history, as many know. I had the privilege of meeting Adrian at North Carolina State when he was a 17-year-old freshman. It was obvious even then that his infectious smile and imposing stature could make him a star. His disruptive style meant opponents always had to know where No. 24 lined up and the statistics illustrate all that he accomplished through his play on the field. Just as impressive, though, has been the leadership, discipline and determination he brought day in and day out, year in and year out.”
Of course, his impact in Arizona won't soon be forgotten.
Adrian Wilson 1 of 4 DBs in @nfl history w/ 25+ INTs & 25+ sacks; others: Ronde Barber, Brian Dawkins, Rodney Harrison— Randall Liu (@RLiuNFL) March 8, 2013
Here was Wilson's reaction to the news. Pretty classy, I must say.
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