The Cardinals are headed in new direction – forward, they hope – with their offensive backfield.

Starting running back Beanie Wells was released on Monday, and backup LaRod Stephens-Howling is likely to land elsewhere in free agency.

Wells was due a roster bonus of $1.3 this spring and scheduled to make $1.157 million in salary.

“We kind of knew it was going to happen for a few weeks now,” Wells said. “I'm excited for a new opportunity.”

A first-round pick in 2009, Wells never lived up to expectations. Over four years, he played in 51 games (23 starts) and gained 2,471 yards and scored 24 touchdowns.

He was hampered by injuries for much of those four seasons, starting with a high ankle sprain suffered in his first training camp practice as a rookie.

"I'm only 24,” he said. “The injuries will get rectified. I'll continue to enjoy what I do."

Asked if could have been happy returning to the Cardinals, Wells said, “I don’t know. Once you put into your mind that it’s a foregone conclusion, I don’t know mentally if you can give it all in that situation.”