PHOENIX (AP) -- The Arizona Cardinals granted running back Edgerrin James' wish to be released on Tuesday and cut two others who played significant roles in the team's run to the Super Bowl.
While James' move was anticipated, the release of cornerback Rod Hood and defensive end Travis LaBoy was not.
The moves clear salary cap space for the Cardinals, who want to sign new deals with linebacker Karlos Dansby and safety Adrian Wilson, and eventually with unhappy wide receiver Anquan Boldin.
James, Hood and LaBoy combined were to have made $10 million next season, but because of the $7.5 million signing bonus given to LaBoy a year ago, the cap savings will be several million dollars less than what the three would have earned. Still, it gives spending room to a franchise that had been just below the salary ceiling.
James had 794 carries for 2,895 yards and 16 touchdowns in his three seasons in Arizona. He topped 1,000 yards in 2006 and 2007, and his resurgence during last season's playoffs gave Arizona the running game it had sorely lacked.
He was benched for seven games earlier in 2008, the first time that's happened in his career, and he asked the team to release him then. The Cardinals refused, and he was reinserted into the lineup late in the season.
Despite it being such a difficult year, it led to James' only Super Bowl.
James had sought his release early in the free agency period, but the Cardinals held off until after last weekend's draft, where they chose Ohio State running back Chris "Beanie" Wells in the first round, the No. 31 pick overall. Wells and second-year pro Tim Hightower are expected to be Arizona's featured backs in the coming season.
James, 30, had one year left, at $5 million, on the four-year, $40 million deal he signed with Arizona before the 2006 season. He recently experienced a personal tragedy with the death of his longtime girlfriend, and mother of his four children, of leukemia at age 30.
In his 10-year career, James has rushed for 12,121 yards, 11th on the NFL career list and first among active players.
Hood appeared in 31 games, 30 as a starter, since signing with Arizona as a free agent in 2007. He had 105 tackles and six interceptions. The Cardinals added a cornerback in free agency by signing Bryant McFadden, then drafted Greg Toler out of tiny St. Paul's College of Virginia in the fourth round on Sunday.
LaBoy, who played four seasons for the Tennessee Titans, signed a five-year, $22 million contract, with about $7.5 million guaranteed, with Arizona before the 2008 season. He played in 13 games with 38 tackles, four sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery in his lone season with the Cardinals.
Coach Ken Whisenhunt wasn't available for comment, but issued a statement through the team.
"It's never easy to release veteran players who have contributed to the team's success, and these three individuals certainly fall into that category," he said. "But like every decision we make, it simply comes down to what is in the best interest of our football team and what gives us the best chance for success. We're grateful to all three of them for their contributions and wish them nothing but the best in the future."
The team's minicamp starts on Friday.
Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.