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Cardinals sign Pro Bowl safety Wilson to five-year, $39 million contract

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Arizona Cardinals took care of their top offseason priority Thursday by signing two-time Pro Bowl safety Adrian Wilson to a new five-year, $39 million contract, with $18.5 million guaranteed.

The deal puts Wilson under contract with the Cardinals through the 2013 season.

"The main point was we wanted to extend our relationship with a great football player," Cardinals general manager Rod Graves said after a news conference to announce the signing. "But I think the signing does indicate in many other ways the idea that you want to reward players who do things the right way, who are committed to excellence and who represent your organization exceptionally well."

Wilson is the hard-hitting leader of the Cardinals' defense and was a Pro Bowl selection in the 2006 and 2008 seasons. His old contract was due to expire after the coming season.

With his wife and two young children looking on, Wilson thanked those who had helped him along the way and outlined his goals for what he said probably will be the final contract of his NFL career.

"I can't put into words exactly how I feel right now," Wilson said. "Every time I step on the field at the new stadium, I look at all the names, the Ring of Honor and all that, and always say that one day I want my number up there, I want my number up there beside Aeneas (Williams), I want my number up there next to Pat (Tillman)."

Wilson, who's entering his ninth NFL season, has 18 career interceptions and 18.5 sacks. Only eight players in NFL history have at least 20 interceptions and 20 sacks. Wilson said he not only wants to be "in the 20-20 club," but eventually reach 30 interceptions and 30 sacks.

Wilson's top goal, though, is to win a Super Bowl, something that would have seemed ridiculous before the Cardinals' surprising near-miss last season.

"We as a team worked so hard to get to where we were last year," Wilson said, "and to not be able to finish it, I think it makes us that much hungrier to get back to where we were and finish the deal."

Next on Arizona's offseason list is a long-term deal for linebacker Karlos Dansby, who has been designated the team's franchise player for the second year in a row. Dansby attended the news conference, saying he was there to show his support and respect for Wilson.

"He paved the way for us," Dansby said. "He's been here the longest, and he's just shown us how to get it done, how to get it done the right way, and everybody's taking note right now. It's a blessed day for him and his family."

Dansby said he's hopeful "to follow maybe in his footsteps and do the things the right way."

Once Dansby is signed, Graves has said he will turn his attention to trying to work out a new deal with disgruntled Pro Bowl wide receiver Anquan Boldin.

Boldin, who has asked to be traded, recently fired agent Drew Rosenhaus. While the NFL Players Association said Thursday that Boldin hadn't officially hired a replacement, Graves said he already has talked with agent Tom Condon about the wide receiver.

Wilson has been with the Cardinals longer than any other player on their roster, experiencing some rough years of losing before the unexpected run to the Super Bowl last season. Arizona selected Wilson out of North Carolina State in the third round of the 2001 draft, and he signed a five-year deal with the team in 2005.

Wilson has started 110 of his 118 NFL games, compiling 612 career tackles, 46 pass deflections, 10 forced fumbles and seven fumble recoveries. In 2006, he became the first defensive player in NFL history with two touchdown plays of at least 99 yards in the same season, one on an interception and another on a fumble return.

Last season, Wilson had 75 tackles, 2.5 sacks and two interceptions. A fierce pass rusher, he knocked Buffalo Bills quarterback Trent Edwards out of the game with a concussion on the third play of Arizona's 41-17 victory last Oct. 5.

"I think in the end, he'll be recognized as not only one of the best players today, but one of the best players to have played the game," Graves said of Wilson.

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