Lack of a true position may complicate Tyrann Mathieu negotiations

AP

The Cardinals list Tyrann Mathieu as a safety, but he does a lot more than that. Most of the time, he’s a cornerback. Sometimes, he a strong safety. Least of all, he’s a free safety.

Ultimately, he’s one of the most dynamic and productive defensive weapons in football, a guy with incredible physical gifts, the brain power to use them to the fullest extent, and an uncanny ability to communicate candidly and frankly but without coming off as arrogant or brash.

Mathieu paid a visit to Thursday’s PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio, and he applied that same degree of honesty to the assessment of his contractual status with the Cardinals.

“I truly believe deep down in my heart that something will get done,” Mathieu said regarding his talks with the team. “It’s not one of those things that’s easy. It’s going to take a little bit of time. I don’t necessarily have a true position, so there’s different things that go into it.”

He realizes that, because he’s listed as a safety (which had a franchise tender of $10.8 million in 2016) but plays much more cornerback (which had a franchise tender of $13.9 million in 2016), putting a value on him becomes harder, due to the $3 million difference in the starting point based on the tag.

“It’s gonna be kind of a wrestling match but at the end of the day as long as we understand it’s a business and as long as we take care of our relationships I think it’ll be all right,” Mathieu said, nailing perfectly the balance that needs to be struck when two sides that want to do business together may have different opinions on precisely how business should be done. “But like I said I’m not really focused on the contract side of things it’s more about me getting healthy and really trying to dominate next year.”

Getting healthy after suffering a torn ACL in December presents the most immediate impediment to getting a deal done. But Mathieu has no concerns about that.

‘It’s going so well,” Mathieu said. “I, honest to God, can’t complain. Just going to work every day, just putting my head down and trying to put my best foot forward. I’m really looking forward to this season, and I know that I’ll be back. I’ll be 100 percent and I really don’t wanna rush this thing. I really wanna take my time and really come back and be all that I can be.”<

There are few guys in football I’d bet against. Mathieu is the last one currently playing that I’d bet against. He’s come too far to do anything but return to full strength, and to ultimately get the kind of unique and special contract that best reflects his unique and special skills.

As the first few seconds of the video below demonstrate, however, Mathieu’s unique and special skills possibly don’t extend to golf.