Three versions of numbers exist for professional sports contracts.
Those versions reflect money the agent wants advertised (usually a best-case scenario for the player), money the team wants advertised (usually more accurate because teams have less to gain from fudging) and money the player actually receives in the end (the truth). That last number is the one that matters most. It's also the toughest one to figure out without knowing how well a player might perform.
Wilson, the Cardinals' Pro Bowl safety, had the 2012 and 2013 seasons remaining on the deal he signed in 2009. He has played at a high level, but he's also turning 33 in October with ample time remaining on his contract. Most likely, the Cardinals advanced some cash to Wilson in the form of a bonus, reduced his $6.5 million base salary for 2012 and lowered Wilson's current salary-cap charge, which had been at $7.55 million.
The deal could make it more likely for Wilson to finish his career with the Cardinals by removing free agency as an option until after the 2015 season. That would not explain Arizona's most likely motivation for the deal.
Coach Ken Whisenhunt will presumably offer thoughts on the deal when the team gets set up for training camp at Northern Arizona University. The first practice is Wednesday.