Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu played all 16 games for the first time in his career in 2017 and ended the year having played more snaps than any other player in the NFL.
That welcome durability may not be enough for him to avoid restructuring the contract he signed with the team in 2016. If Mathieu is on the Cardinals roster at the start of the next league year, he will be due a $5 million roster bonus and his entire $5.75 million salary for next year will be guaranteed. Mathieu would also have $8 million of his $10.75 million salary for 2019 guaranteed at that point.
In a look at the Cardinals roster on the team website, the blurb about Mathieu states that the team will “likely take [a] look at his contract structure” before the new league year starts on March 14. That could mean a pay cut, a restructure or an extension that lessens how much the team owes a player whose past injury history is a concern even if he got through 2017 unscathed.
Mathieu doesn’t have to agree to any of that, of course, but it stands to reason that there’s a good chance that the Cardinals would decide to part ways if they do broach the subject with him in the next couple of months.