PHOENIX (March 21, 2006) -- The Arizona Cardinals matched the offer sheet that guard Reggie Wells signed with the Buffalo Bills.
The 6-foot-4, 320-pound Wells started nine games at left guard last season before breaking his left ankle against Detroit on Nov. 13.
"To tell you the truth, I really didn't know," Wells said when asked whether he had believed the Cardinals would match the five-year offer. "Buffalo came through with the offer, and I was definitely preparing myself to go back to the cold, but it worked out in the end."
Wells, selected in the sixth round of the 2003 NFL Draft out of Clarion, Pa., has appeared in 40 games, including 26 starts, in three seasons.
"We consider him as one of the pieces of the nucleus that we'd like to keep together," said Rod Graves, the Cardinals vice president for player personnel. "He is very talented and the arrow is still up on him. I feel he has a chance to be one of the better offensive linemen in the league eventually and we certainly didn't want to lose him."
The move comes as Arizona attempts to improve its offensive line after signing running back Edgerrin James. Losing Wells would have made that more difficult. The James signing came while Wells was visiting the Green Bay Packers.
"Everybody in the league knows what he can do," Wells said. "He was elevating Indianapolis to another level. He's going to be a real treat to block for."
If the Cardinals allowed Wells to go to Buffalo, they would have been entitled to a sixth-round draft pick.
The big lineman said it really hadn't hit him how much money he will be making.
"It's definitely a dream come true," he said, "but I definitely feel I have a long way to go to improve in my career."
Wells said his main goal is to finish rehabilitating his leg.
"I should be running by next week," he said, "and the doc said come July it should be full go."
The Cardinals will move into their new stadium this fall, and Wells said he believes the franchise is sincere about doing what is necessary to build a winner in coach Dennis Green's third season with the team.
"I felt that way ever since I've been out here," he said. "Coach Green has done a real good job of bringing in guys who he felt could win and going from there."
Meanwhile, Graves said the Cardinals have some interest in quarterback Joey Harrington, who won't return to the Detroit Lions. Arizona is looking for a backup to Kurt Warner.
He said he has spoken to David Dunn, the agent who represents Harrington and Kerry Collins.
"We have considered both of those, but we're going to weigh that against draft considerations as well, and see where we come out," Graves said. "There's certainly no opposition to looking at Joey Harrington."
The Associated Press News Service
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