Edgerrin James. He's the running back that the Cardinals have been dreaming about to fill out their offensive attack. Quarterback Kurt Warner talked about him on a radio show a few weeks ago, pleading for Arizona to sign the Colts running back when free agency opened. Wide receiver Anquan Boldin, who is also represented by James' agent Drew Rosenhaus, was also making his case with the Cardinals front office on behalf of James.
So before James met with Cardinals head coach Dennis Green in Arizona on Saturday, it shouldn't have been a surprise that he had some time to hang out with a special welcoming committee consisting of Warner, Boldin, and Larry Fitzgerald.
It certainly created the visual of James being the fourth amigo in a Cardinals offense that is one great running back away from being simply brutal on their opponents.
Warner summed it up in one sentence.
"He would be huge for what we're trying to accomplish," he told the Arizona Republic.
Rod Graves, Vice President of Football Operations, agreed.
"He has been an important part in Indianapolis' success as far as his running ability and as far as his pass receiving abilities," he said.
"We're looking to add all of those dimensions to our offense and help us to improve in an area where we indicated that if we had the opportunity to improve our running game we would. Edgerrin would definitely help us do that."
James was one of three players the Cardinals had identified as their top targets in free agency. And with close to $30 million in cap room this year, there was little doubt about the fact that they would put a full-court press on all three.
And while they succeeded in signing former Steelers and Giants defensive lineman and former Texans guard, it initially appeared that they failed to reel in the biggest fish in Saturday's pond.
But that changed today as the team announced that he had agreed to a four-year deal, ending an era in Indianapolis Colts history.
One rumor on Saturday had the Cardinals offering a deal that included a $10 million signing bonus. If true, that's $2 million more in signing bonus money than Shaun Alexander got with his recent 8-year, $62 million pact.
The Cardinals were clearly in the best position to put a blockbuster deal in front of James. Not only did they have close to $30 million in cap room, they were also a team desperate to get an immediate infusion of experienced superstar talent after years of rushing futility.
The one question that is sure to be asked this week is whether or not the signing delay was to give the Colts an opportunity to match the offer. Or did James simply want to sleep on it?
Those details, along with the dollars associated with James' contract will no doubt leak out in the upcoming hours. But if Rosenhaus did give Colts president Bill Polian the opportunity to consider matching the deal the Cardinals put on the table, it obviously didn't take long for him to realize that the Cardinals pockets this year were much deeper than what was reasonable for Indianapolis' current and future cap situation.
Edgerrin James: End of an Era in Indy
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