"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," Cardinals President Michael Bidwill said in a statement. "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."
Wilson, a five-time Pro Bowler, spent the past 12 seasons in Arizona after the Cardinals made him their third-round draft pick in 2001. He started 162 games along the way after replacing Pat Tillman, but Wilson, a longtime fan favorite, saw his role shrink last season.
Despite his 14 starts, Wilson was pulled off the field in nickel sets late in the season and his release doesn't come as a great surprise. With former Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton migrating to the Cleveland Browns, Wilson was bound for the door as Bruce Arians and a new coaching staff take over.
Wilson, 33, was due $2.5 million this season along with a $1 million roster bonus as part of the four-year, $16.5 million contract he signed in July. It's not implausible that Wilson -- now part of a strong group of free-agent defensive backs -- will catch on with another club, but the Cardinals are choosing to pair safety Kerry Rhodes with someone new next season.
Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.