The Cardinals are “deep in negotiations” for an extension with star safety Tyrann Mathieu, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). The deal (if and when it is completed), will make Mathieu the highest-paid safety in the NFL, Rapoport adds.
Eric Berry currently stands as the NFL’s highest-paid safety on a per-year basis with a contract paying him $10.8MM in 2016. Of course, the Chiefs are hoping to lock up their own star safety as he is scheduled to hit the open market after the 2016 season. With that in mind, it’s possible that Mathieu’s mantle of being the highest-paid safety in the league might be short lived.
Earl Thomas of the Seahawks stands as the highest-paid safety on a multi-year deal following his four-year, $40MM extension signed in April 2014. Thomas’ AAV of $10MM/year edges Devin McCourty‘s $9.5MM salary after the Pats standout signed a five-year, $47.5MM deal to stay in New England last year. In terms of absolute guarantees, however, McCourty’s deal takes the cake at $22MM.
Mathieu is slated to earn a modest $1.5MM salary in his contract year. The LSU product underwent surgery in December to fix his torn ACL, but that apparently has not detered Arizona from getting a multi-year deal done. Mathieu, who will not take the practice field until training camp this summer, could be in line for more than $10MM per year on his new deal.
The former third-round pick is one of the league’s hardest hitters at his position and is an impact player when he’s on the gridiron. Mathieu, unfortunately, has missed eight games across his three NFL seasons.
“More than anything he’s a football player regardless of position and he’s a guy who can be a difference maker,” GM Steve Keim told PFT. “The hardest part of it all is in three years he has had two significant knee injuries. Aside from that Tyrann has done everything right on and off the field and he’s a guy that we envision as hopefully a face of the program moving forward.”
In 2015, Mathieu earned a Pro-Bowl selection and was named First-Team All-Pro. In his 14 games, Mathieu recorded five interceptions, 89 tackles, 1 sack, 17 passes defensed, and also recorded a defensive touchdown.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.