Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that the Cardinals and S Tyrann Mathieu are “deep in negotiations” regarding a long-term extension that would make him the highest-paid safety.
This shouldn’t come as much of a surprising, seeing as Cardinals GM Steve Keim has made it clear that locking up Mathieu is a priority for them.
“We haven’t put a deadline on that yet but because of the draft and because of free agency we probably didn’t put enough time into it during that period as we could have or should have,” Keim previously told PFT Live. “But that’s something that we’ll jump back on here shortly. We’ve had great dialogue with Tom Condon and his group, who represents Tyrann. We have a really good relationship and there’s no question both sides want to get something done. So hopefully we’ll get something done in the near future.”
Keim did, however, mention that the two serious knee injuries sustained by Mathieu since entering the NFL are a bit of a concern. Even so, they still view him as a core player moving forward.
“More than anything he’s a football player regardless of position and he’s a guy who can be a difference maker,” Keim said. “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.”
Mathieu has said previously that he wants to spend the remainder of his career as a member of the Cardinals.
“We’re both eager, we’re both interested,” Mathieu said, via Mike Jurecki of Fox Sports 910. “I want to spend the rest of my career here. The biggest thing is getting my knee right, rehabbing and being ready for 2016.”
Mathieu, 23, is a former third-round pick of the Cardinals back in 2013, who has quickly become an impact player for one of the best defensive units in the NFL. He is entering the final year of his four-year, $3.052 million rookie contract that included $817,187 guaranteed and stands to make a base salary of $675,000 in 2016.
Unfortunately, Mathieu’s 2016 season was cut short after he suffered a season-ending ACL injury towards the end of the year.
In 2015, Mathieu appeared in 14 games and recorded 89 tackles, a sack, five interceptions with one being returned for a touchdown, a forced fumble and 16 pass defenses for the Cardinals. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 1 cornerback out of 111 qualifying players.