Though a report nearly a month ago indicated that the Cardinals were nearing an extension with defensive back Tyrann Mathieu, talks are now on hold as the club breaks for the summer, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (video link). The two sides had hoped to reach a deal by now, but a long-term pact could still be hammered out before training camp, per Rapoport.
Arizona is reportedly willing to make Mathieu the highest-paid safety in the league, and Rapoport confirms that information, adding that any extension is expected to come in north of $11MM per season. Currently, the Chiefs’ Eric Berry earns the most on an annual basis among safeties, although the Kansas City defender is under the franchise tag. Vikings safety Harrison Smith, who last week signed an extension that pays him $10.25MM per season, is number two. Of course, Mathieu also spends a great deal of time at cornerback, and an $11MM average annual value would rank eighth among CBs.
“I just want to get paid as a top defender,” Mathieu told Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com last month. “I don’t want to be slotted as a corner or a safety, because I’m not Patrick Peterson and I’m not Earl Thomas. I’m kind of different than both of those guys, but I still have the same type of impact on the game as those guys do. I just want to be paid as a top defender, and however that looks on paper, that’s what I want.”
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, one sack, 17 passes defensed, and graded out as the No. 1 cornerback in the league, according to Pro Football Focus.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.