Tyrann Mathieu is moving to free safety and, according to a report from Peter King, he’ll be doing it without any guaranteed money coming his way from the Cardinals.
In his Monday Morning Quarterback column at SI.com, King writes that Mathieu will not have guarantees on the deal he signs in Arizona but will have roster bonuses that will require him to be on the team each week in order to see his entire salary. King also reports that the team will “randomly” drug test Mathieu as often as once a week once he signs that guarantee-less contract as part of their plan to keep the erstwhile Honey Badger from blowing his NFL opportunity.
And from blowing the team’s chance to benefit from a player who might have gone earlier in the draft if not for his marijuana habit in college. King spoke to Cardinals General Manager Steve Keim, who said that he hoped to maximize the return and minimize the risk by having former LSU teammate Patrick Peterson will serve as a mentor of sorts for Mathieu.
“It’s uncharacteristic of our organization to take chances on guys with troubled pasts. But we thought this was a good player and person for us to take,” Keim said. “I’m not naïve about this. I know the risk. But the risk to reward was enticing. His passion for the game is off the charts.”
Enlisting Peterson as a helper and making Mathieu’s compensation contingent on staying clean are both things that make it likelier that the Cardinals will realize a return on their pick, but Mathieu remains the wild card since he already missed the chance to capitalize on one golden chance in his football career. No matter what the Cardinals do, it will be up to him whether or not it happens again.