WEDNESDAY, 4:20pm: The Cardinals confirmed the extension, via the team’s Twitter account.
TUESDAY, 8:56pm: The Cardinals and Tyrann Mathieu have agreed to a five-year contract extension that makes him the highest-paid safety in the NFL and locks him up through the 2021 campaign. When all is said and done, the five-year deal will be worth $62.5MM and contain $21.25MM fully guaranteed. The guarantees are comprised of a $15,5MM signing bonus, a $1MM 2016 base salary, and a $4.75MM 2017 base salary.
This offseason, Arizona was gearing up to make Mathieu the highest-paid safety in the league and they did just that today. Previously, the Chiefs’ Eric Berry set the watermark in terms of AAV thanks to his franchise tender for 2016. Vikings safety Harrison Smith, who recently signed an extension that pays him $10.25MM per season, was briefly the runner-up for annual compensation at the position and No. 1 in terms of overall value. Now, Mathieu is your new leader in both AAV and overall compensation for safeties with a $12MM AAV and an overall deal which should come in at $60MM+. Mathieu also spends a great deal of time at cornerback and it should be noted that an $12MM/year 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 recently. “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.
Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) and Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter) first reported the agreement and its terms. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported the financial details and structure. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.