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Insider

Teams willing to take a peek at Wadsworth

At the top of a lot of NFL franchises' draft boards in 1998, keeping company with an elite group that also included quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf, was Andre Wadsworth, a pure upfield pass-rusher from Florida State and projected by nearly every league scout as a perennial double-digit sack threat.

Chosen third overall that spring, by the Arizona Cardinals, the incredibly athletic Wadsworth missed all of training camp in a contract dispute before finally signing a six-year, $42 million deal on the eve of the regular-season opener. Wadsworth played in all 16 games as a rookie, posted 47 tackles, five sacks and flashed Pro Bowl-caliber potential at times.

And then, in a flurry of knee surgeries and battles with the Arizona front office, his NFL career was over two years later when the Cardinals voided his contract and saved $30 million in total base salaries due Wadsworth between 2001-2003. The paltry dividend for the nearly $12 million (including a $10.49 million signing bonus) the Cardinals invested in him: Just 36 games, 119 tackles, eight sacks and three forced fumbles.