James signs as free agent with Arizona

Monday, March 13, 2006

Edgerrin James prides himself on taking risks. He just took the biggest one of his career.

James ran off to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, agreeing to a four-year, $30 million contract with a long-downtrodden franchise that had the worst running game in the NFL a year ago.

The two-time league rushing champion, who became a free agent after seven seasons with the Colts, knew there was little chance he would return to Indianapolis when the season ended in a loss to Pittsburgh in the AFC divisional round.

Now, he must face life without Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne. Of course, James believes the Cardinals have a pretty good trio in Kurt Warner, Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald.

"OK it's a risk. But hey, I'm a poker player. You can take it to the river," James said. "I'm not scared to take a chance. I'm not scared to go out there on a limb and do something different."

The Vikings also made a strong push to upgrade their offense Sunday, signing All-Pro Steve Hutchinson to the richest offer sheet for a guard in NFL history. Minnesota offered Hutchinson a seven-year deal worth $49 million, with $16 million in guaranteed money, a person close to the negotiations told The Associated Press.

The Redskins had another eventful day, signing WR Antwaan Randle El to a seven-year contract that could be worth up to $31 million. Washington also signed tight end Christian Fauria, who spent the last four years with New England.

Meanwhile, free-agent quarterback Drew Brees completed a visit with the Saints in New Orleans and then flew to Miami to talk with Dolphins officials.

But the biggest surprise of the day was James.

Colts president Bill Polian admitted last month he was taking a gamble by deciding against putting the franchise tag on James, which allowed him hit the free-agent market.

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