The honeymoon is over.
Rosenthal: Top 85 free agents
This year's free-agent crop lacks star power, but provides immense depth. Gregg Rosenthal ranks available players. **More ...**
Back in the post-lockout free-agent rush of 2011, the Arizona Cardinals and linebacker Stewart Bradley hooked up via a five-year, $30 million contract with visions of a dynamic inside tag-team alongside the speedy Daryl Washington.
Less than two years later, Bradley is out of a job after the Cardinals released him and cornerback William Gay on Friday.
NFL.com's Aditi Kinkhabwala reported via a team source that Bradley was coming through customs while returning from his honeymoon when he got the call that he was being released. The move will save $3.5 million against the salary cap, as Bradley was due to collect $5 million this season.
Viewed as the middle linebacker of the future for the Philadelphia Eagles before blowing out his knee in 2009, Bradley was the quintessential free-agent bust in Arizona. After struggling to adapt to former defensive coordinator's Ray Horton's 3-4 defense, Bradley surprisingly failed to beat out declining veteran Paris Lenon for a starting job. It was clear that he wasn't long for the desert when he was forced to take a major paycut last offseason.
Bradley's logical next step is a return to a 4-3 defense that better suits his strengths. Now entering his age-30 season and nearly three years removed from his last start, however, he shouldn't count on his phone ringing off the hook.
Gay, a 15-game starter in his first year since coming over from the Pittsburgh Steelers, was due $3.225 million after triggering an escalator in his contract. His release could mean the team is counting on re-signing free agent Greg Toler, who came on strong at the end of the season.
Gay tweeted about being released on Friday morning.
It's not a good omen for Gay that new coach Bruce Arians was with him for a half-decade in Pittsburgh.