The Arizona Cardinals announced that after 12 seasons with the franchise, veteran safety Adrian Wilson would be released on Friday.
“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 released by the club. “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."
The Cardinals selected Wilson out of North Carolina State in the third round of the 2001 NFL Draft. Over the last twelve seasons, Wilson has missed just 11 games, posted 27 interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns, to go along with his 25.5 sacks. Wilson earned five trips to the Pro Bowl and was named to the All-Pro team on four occasions.
Wilson's release does not come as a surprise. Though he started all 16 games in 2012, Wilson had a reduced a role on defense towards the end of the season and appeared in under 80 percent of the team's defensive snaps. With the Cardinals bringing in a new coaching staff to replace Ken Whisenhunt, the team was looking to get younger and releasing a 34-year-old safety certainly fits with the plan moving forward.
Wilson had three seasons remaining on his current contract and was scheduled to receive a $1 million roster bonus on March 12. Wilson's roster bonus and $2.5 million base salary in 2013 were guaranteed for injury only. In addition to a $250,000 offfseason workout bonus, Wilson's release saves the Cardinals $3.75 million in cash and $3 million in cap space.