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Keim: Cardinals evaluating Tyrann Mathieu, others under new staff

The Arizona Cardinals continue evaluating how their returning players fit in the system employed by first-year head coach Steve Wilks, and that includes determining how 25-year-old defensive back Tyrann Mathieu figures into the team’s future.

Cardinals general manager Steve Keim said Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine that he was evaluating the future of all players when he was asked by a reporter if the team was operating as if Mathieu will be on the roster upon the new league year on March 14.

“It’s what we’re doing right now with our coaching staff is looking not only at Tyrann but every player, and see how they fit,” Keim said. “So how do they fit (with) what we’re asking them to do schematically, but where they fit from a salary standpoint — all those things moving forward.

“And there’s a lot of moving parts: What we’re potentially going to do in free agency, how that affects our cap situation. And I feel like we have a pretty good grasp on that.”

Mathieu seems quite aware that while he’s under contract, the team could potentially move in a different direction.

Mathieu signed a five-year contract extension in 2016, but the Cardinals can use the next few weeks to evaluate whether his projected production is worth the price tag.

The defensive back will be paid $5.75 million in base salary for 2018 but has $8 million of his 2019 salary guaranteed if he’s on the Cardinals by March 14. He also has a $5 million roster bonus owed on March 16, per Spotrac.com.

Mathieu is the fourth-highest cap hit ($14.1 million) on the Cardinals’ roster for 2018, according to Spotrac.com.

Wilks said Wednesday at the combine that he liked Mathieu’s skillset and would mesh well with how the coach’s former team, the Carolina Panthers, played as a heavy-blitzing squad.

“When you look at the skillset that he has, I think he can do so much,” Wilks told reporters in Indianapolis.