Cardinals GM Keim on Tyrann Mathieu contract: ‘Hopefully we’ll get something done in the near future’
Early on in the Arizona Cardinals’ offseason, general manager Steve Keim said it was a goal to get safety Tyrann Mathieu signed to a long-term contract extension.
However, as the calendar has reached May and the 2016 league year has begun, Mathieu remains under his original rookie contract, which would make him a free agent at the conclusion of this upcoming season.
By all accounts there is no real tension between either side, as most assume a deal will get done at some point. However, that more progress toward that end has not been made is something Cardinals GM Steve Keim told ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio he regrets.
“We haven’t put a deadline on that yet, but because of the draft and because of free agency we probably didn’t put enough time into it during that period as we could have or should have,” he said. “But that’s something that we’ll jump back on here shortly.”
Keim added he has had great dialogue and has a great relationship with Mathieu’s agents and there is “no question both sides want to get something done.”
“Hopefully we’ll get something done in the near future,” he said.
Last season the former third-round pick elevated his game to the point where he was in the conversation to be the NFL Defensive Player of the Year. A versatile defensive back, Mathieu was named first-team All-Pro after tallying 89 tackles, 16 passes defensed, five interceptions, 11 tackles for loss and one forced fumble. He also was selected to the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career, but was unable to play due to suffering a torn ACL in Week 14.
It was a disappointing way for Mathieu’s great season to come to an end, and his absence was noticeable the rest of the way. That’s a big reason why the Cardinals want to keep him around for a while, that and the fact that he has quickly become one of the team’s emotional leaders.
That said, there are some challenges when determining how much the Cardinals should pay the 23-year-old who is listed as a safety but essentially plays all over the secondary. Generally, cornerbacks get paid more than safeties, and that could factor into what Mathieu’s side expects.
Keim, though, does not not necessarily see that as a sticking point.
“I think more than anything he’s a football player regardless of position, and he’s a guy who could be a difference maker,” Keim said. “The hardest part of it all is in three years he has had two significant knee injuries.
“Aside from that, Tyrann has done everything right on and off the field and he’s a guy that we envision as, hopefully, a face of the program moving forward.”
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