With the growing number of contract and trade demands in the NFL, it's refreshing to see a player let his performance speak for itself. SS Adrian Wilson did just that and was rewarded with a five-year, $39 million contract extension earlier this week. The deal includes $18.5 million in guarantees and almost ensures Wilson will finish his career in Arizona.
Since arriving in the desert, Wilson has been the mainstay of the Cardinals' defense. Wilson has spent all eight of his NFL seasons in Arizona, reaching the Pro Bowl on two occasions. Wilson's ability to run like a cornerback and hit like a linebacker has been well documented across the league, leaving many wideouts leery of crossing the middle on Wilson's watch. For his career, Wilson has compiled 613 tackles, 18.5 sacks and 18 interceptions.
The business aspect of the NFL is all too apparent these days and Arizona has been affected on a first-hand basis. WR Anquan Boldin and DT Darnell Dockett are both demanding new contracts and have yet to participate in any of the Cardinals' voluntary offseason workouts. On a positive note, Boldin recently fired agent Drew Rosenhaus in favor of Tom Condon. Graves and company welcome the opportunity to work with Condon, who they've done business with in the past.
While Boldin and Dockett are both in the midst of multi-year contracts, Wilson did what used to the norm in professional football. He played out his existing deal and didn't make demands through the media and other outlets. Wilson has developed into one of the top safeties in the NFL and his play on the field handled his negotiations. If Arizona is lucky, Wilson's example will rub off on Boldin and Dockett and they'll rebuff on requests for new contracts or to be dealt out of town.
Along with FS Antrel Rolle, Wilson supplies the Cardinals with an excellent last line of defense. In addition, Arizona has Aaron Francisco and incoming rookie Rashad Johnson further down on the depth chart. With an excellent blend of experience, talent and youth, the Cardinals are stacked with options in the secondary. Furthermore, cornerbacks Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Bryant McFadden could pose to be a tremendous tandem on the perimeter.
Having Wilson around for the long haul will do more than just strike fear in the heart of Arizona's opponents. Wilson leads by example on and off the field and is a constant fixture in the community. Wilson's leadership skills in the locker room are invaluable to the organization and the Cardinals stand to benefit from his continued presence in Arizona.