Cardinals release safety Tyrann Mathieu
The latest update on Tyrann Mathieu’s ongoing contract negotiations with the Arizona Cardinals said that they had made “positive strides” toward restructuring the safety’s deal. However, they obviously weren’t positive enough as the Cardinals have announced that they’ve cut the Honey Badger.
We have released safety Tyrann Mathieu.https://t.co/dTmli1kXiq
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) March 14, 2018
The possibility of Mathieu’s release has long been posited due to the Cardinals’ cap situation. The only realistic way he was going to stay with the team next season was if he was willing to take a significant pay cut.
However, he did not agree to the new deal the Cardinals were offering, hence his release. Mathieu was cut just before a large chunk of contract – $5.75 million of his 2018 salary and $8 million of his 2019 salary – became guaranteed. He was also due a $5 million roster bonus on March 16.
Mathieu, 25, has been a real asset to the Cardinals’ defense over the last few years. His versatility to play multiple roles within that defense has been a big factor in what they’ve been able to do on that side of the ball. He’s coming off another strong season in 2017 as he had two interceptions and a forced fumble in 16 games, the first time he’s played a full season in his career.
However, he has already torn both ACLs, which was a concern going forward. Moreover, the Cardinals already have a ready-made replacement for him in Budda Baker, who is a similarly versatile playmaker in that secondary.
While losing the Honey Badger will be tough, the Cardinals should still have enough pieces to remain one of the better defenses in the league.