Justin Bethel: Contract extension is life-changing

Dec 8, 2015, 11:10 AM
Arizona Cardinals cornerback Justin Bethel, right, breaks up a pass intended for St. Louis Rams tig...
Arizona Cardinals cornerback Justin Bethel, right, breaks up a pass intended for St. Louis Rams tight end Jared Cook during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game on Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)
(AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)
LISTEN: Justin Bethel, Cardinals cornerback

He’s only 25, but Justin Bethel is already regarded by many as one of the best special teams players in the NFL. Now he has the contract to show for it.

The 2012 sixth-round pick out of Presbyterian signed a three-year, $15 million contract extension with the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday, with $9 million guaranteed.

“This is definitely life changing and it’s a blessing,” Bethel told Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM on Tuesday. “It’s kind of hard to explain it, you know? Getting to that second deal is what a lot of people try to get to.”

The two-time Pro Bowler for his work on special teams has played in every game since joining the Cardinals in 2012.

“I did it all through high school, when I got to college I was a full-time starter and I started on every special teams, so I kind of think it’s engrained in me to go out there and do it full speed.”

While not many players embrace their spot on special teams, Bethel said it’s his mentality that has set him up for success.

“You’ve got to want to do it. If you go in there kind of half stepping it and not really trying to protect yourself, not trying to get too tired, all these other little things, I don’t think you’ll be able to be great at it.”

The 2015 season has been his best yet. Through twelve games, Bethel has made a career-high 22 tackles, completed his first interception which he ran in for a pick-6 and totaled seven pass deflections.

His contract extension both rewards the success he’s had on special teams and sends the message that Arizona has faith in what his future looks like at cornerback.

The Cardinals have gotten to see more of Bethel in that role this season as Jerraud Powers has missed time with a calf injury.

In Sunday’s 27-3 victory over St. Louis, Bethel made his second start of the season at cornerback and recorded four tackles and two pass deflections.

“The last couple games I’ve had to start at corner with Jerraud being down,” Bethel said. “I still have my same roles on special teams. Whatever they feel they need me to do and whatever is best for the team, I’m going to do it.”

Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals' Kyler Murray (1) participates during the team's NFL football practice, Wednesday...
Nikash Nath

Cardinals’ Kyler Murray among top 5 QBs in multiple PFF passing metrics

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray's accuracy was on point in 2021, especially when looking at deep throws.
2 days ago
Arizona Cardinals linebacker Isaiah Simmons #9 during the NFL game between the Arizona Cardinals an...
Nikash Nath

PFF’s Renner: Cardinals’ Isaiah Simmons a breakout candidate in Year 3

Cardinals' inside linebacker Isaiah Simmons was named a potential year three breakout candidate by PFF's Michael Renner.
1 day ago
Rodney Hudson #61 of the Arizona Cardinals in the huddle during the game against the Tennessee Tita...
Wills Rice

Former Cardinals C A.Q. Shipley thinks offense needs to find identity

"For (Kyler) the next step is just grabbing everyone around him, whether he just needs one play and everyone will look to him," Shipley said.
2 days ago
General Manager Steve Keim of the Arizona Cardinals looks on prior to the game against the Baltimor...
Tyler Drake

Important NFL dates to remember and how they impact Arizona Cardinals

A look at the important league dates to circle on your calendar and how they relate to the Arizona Cardinals' roster decisions.
2 days ago
Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury takes notes as he watches players taking part in drill...
Tyler Drake

Looming questions for the Arizona Cardinals ahead of training camp

There are quite a few questions marks surrounding the Arizona Cardinals ahead of training camp this offseason.
2 days ago
(Twitter photo/New England Patriots)...
Wills Rice

New England Patriots bring back red uniforms in Back to the Future spoof

The New England Patriots announced the team is bringing back their old-school red uniform and helmet combo for the 2022 season.
3 days ago
Justin Bethel: Contract extension is life-changing