Cardinals cornerback Justin Bethel made two All-Pro teams and three Pro Bowl rosters due to his special teams work from 2013-15, but a transition to a bigger role on defense last season didn’t go as well.
Coach Bruce Arians called the idea of giving Bethel more time in the secondary a “failure in progress” late last season. The lack of success on defense last year may be related to Bethel making less money than he was scheduled to earn in 2017.
Bethel has taken a pay cut from $4.5 million to $2 million for the coming season. If Bethel should turn in a better performance during the upcoming season, he’ll have a chance to get some of it back earlier than initially expected.
Bethel was signed through the 2018 season, but the reworking of his contract has eliminated that year. That sets Bethel up to be an unrestricted free agent after this season, so a rebound on the field could lead to a rebound in the bank account as well.