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Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Cardinals cuts show perils of free agency

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The Titans liked Travis LaBoy when the defensive end became a free agent before the 2008 season. The team probably would have re-signed LaBoy if the organization thought the pass rusher could stay healthy.

Instead, LaBoy hit the market and cashed in with the Cardinals, pocketing a $5.75 million signing bonus and $750,000 in first-year salary. LaBoy also collected a $1.5 million roster bonus this offseason, bringing his 13-month haul to $8 million.

This is often how free agency goes. The other players Arizona released Tuesday, running back Edgerrin James and cornerback Rod Hood, were also marquee free-agent signings. James fulfilled three years of his four-year deal, collecting $25 million -- not a horrible outcome by free agency's standards. Hood lasted two of five seasons, collecting $8 million.

Don't call the Cardinals cheap. They took a high-stakes risk on LaBoy and paid the price when it didn't work out. They shelled out $41 million for James, LaBoy and Hood over the last three seasons. Such can be the price of becoming players in free agency.