“Wrestling match” ends with Mathieu, Cardinals both winning

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Cardinals defensive back Tyrann Mathieu told PFT Live earlier this year that his contract talks with the team would be “kind of a wrestling match.” The wrestling match is now over, and both sides have won.

For Mathieu, the player who plunged to round three due to off-field issues in 2013 and who has suffered a pair of torn ACLs in three NFL seasons cashed in enormously, with a five-year, $62.5 million contract.

Reported as a five-year contract with a $12.5 million average, it’s actually a five-year extension. Still, under the new-money analysis that teams and agents routinely apply to the assessment of these deals, he has become the highest-paid safety by a significant margin, eclipsing the Harrison Smith’s multi-year deal by $2.25 million per year. (At $10.8 million on a one-year franchise tag, Eric Berry of the Chiefs will be the highest-paid safety — if he signs it before the Chiefs rescind it.)

It puts him right in the middle of the current top of the safety and cornerback market ($15 million). Which is an appropriate compromise, given that he plays both positions.

For the Cardinals, the victory comes from securing the long-term services of a player who has quickly become one of the best defensive players in the league, and a true leader in the locker room. Depending on the structure (and all that has emerged to date is that the deal has $40 million guaranteed, which doesn’t say much), the deal also may give them the ability to find a way out of the contract without major financial exposure if the latest ACL tear ultimately limits what Mathieu can do.

Chances are the Cardinals already have seen enough to know that it won’t.

30 responses to ““Wrestling match” ends with Mathieu, Cardinals both winning

  1. Gilmore is going to miss out on his score with the Bills because all the money is going to the NFL MVP Tyrod Taylor, you heard it here first. The Bills offense is loaded for bear and the defense is back baby, GO BILLS!!

    A Bills Fan !!

  2. Not bad for a honeybadger. Sometimes players do grow up and realize that the NFL paycheck is more important than drugs and crime. He owes a lot to Patrick Peterson.

  3. Awesome news.

    What a difference between Bidwill Sr., who never thought any player was worth more than a six-pack, and his son who actually seems to understand how things work in the NFL.

    The minute the son took over, so did the changes.
    Bidwill Jr. + Arians + Keim + Honey Badger = Making Football Fun Again.

  4. Great signing of a great player by a great team. Well, “first place” team to be exact.

    Someone suggested Zona is a “dumpster franchise.” I guess that means the Seagulls are the sewer franchise by comparison, considering they were a 19-yd-fg away from “one and done.”

    Mathieu picked off Russell Wilson and Kaepernick last year, btw. He’s going to pick Lil Russ some more this year, when Lil Russ gets sacked 60 times.

  5. That’s great news for a great player, and you have to give props to the team. Mathieu is a safety in name only, plays more at corner, and deserved to be paid on that scale.

    It would have been easy to do what the Chiefs did to Tony Gonzales and the Saints did to Jimmy Graham and say, “Hey, you’re a TE, so we’re only paying you TE money” even though they were among the best receivers in the league.

  6. “Mathieu is a safety in name only, plays more at corner, and deserved to be paid on that scale.”

    Don’t forget he can cover as linebacker pretty well too. The kid is “Polamalu” like, maybe even better.

  7. So he’s not a total and complete idiot anymore, he’s a “leader” but he suffers a serious injury every season and this means that he should be paid near the top of the market? Gotcha

  8. So you’re saying rasslin’ is now more popular then football? You may be right. So the wimpy commish now wants no more kick returns? No more hard hits? Word, you’re right, rasslin’ is better. The NFL has gone pretty soft, it’s now targeted to embarrassing non men like the Ryan Seacrests of the world. I mean, look you have these Nancy guys, lawyers, who’ve never played a down in their life running football websites and on tv pretending to know the ins and outs of football. So I agree, rasslin’is better.

  9. I think part of the thing we need to realize is that ACL injuries aren’t the career-enders they used to be. Medicine has advanced. You see guys (esp young guys) routinely coming back from that injury these days.

    Mathieu is a big-time playmaker. I’d want my team to have paid him too.

  10. Don’t forget he can cover as linebacker pretty well too. The kid is “Polamalu” like, maybe even better

    ———-

    People forget how strong some players were, after a very short time.
    Polamalu and Ed Reed played at a very high level for a very long time.

  11. “For the Cardinals, the victory comes from securing the long-term services of a player who has quickly become one of the best defensive players in the league, and a true leader in the locker room.”

    Jerry Jones: “That’s a bunch of bull-puckey! ‘Real leaders’ do things like throw women down on to a bed of assault rifles and then assault assistant coaches! Honey Badger got nothing on Greg Hardy!” (Sips from McClain’s purple drank sippy cup)

  12. He’s a great player, but that’s a lot of dough for a guy with 2 ACL surgeries in his past playing a position relying primarily on his legs.

  13. Great signing for them. I’m a Steelers fan, but I was pulling hard for them to draft him and I’ve been following him ever since. He’s one of my favorite players in the league and apart from how exciting he is to watch, he seems like a great guy off the field as well.

  14. So the knuckler suggesting that the Cards are a “dumpster franchise” has now doubled down with a second similar comment? C’mon dude, can’t you do any better than that? Almost as weak as Buffalo fan telling us that Tyrod Taylor is going to be NFL MVP. Aside from being completely off-topic, it’s beyond delusional. If you must troll, at least have a clever take of some kind, with some iota of truth to it.

  15. Carson Palmer career playoffs record: 1-3

    Russell Wilson career playoffs record: 7-3

    And the Cardinals are the team to beat in the NFCW? Ha

    Nice signing to a great defense anyway, peace

  16. Considering the Cardinals have beaten Seattle like a drum the last two times Carson has been healthy in Seattle, and considering Arizona’s 13-3 record last year – yes, they are clearly the team to beat in the NFC West. Unless you are the Cardinals, you were a barely relevant team in the NFC West. But please go on cherry picking stats from four years ago, I’m sure that lost you a lot of money at the ‘book last year.

  17. LOL… I guess when your team got significantly worse while your rival significantly improved in 2015, the only logical thing to do is to pretend like it didn’t happen.

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