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Contract extension for Tyrann Mathieu could be on horizon

Arizona Cardinals free safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) celebrates his interception against the San Francisco 49ers during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Since being drafted with the No. 69 pick in the third-round of the 2013 NFL draft, Tyrann Mathieu has quickly ascended to ‘face of the franchise’ type stardom.

The former LSU safety has provided numerous highlight plays in the secondary and is a staple in the Arizona Cardinals defense. Earlier this month, Cardinals GM Steve Keim stated he was hopeful the team would be able to get an extension done with Mathieu very soon.

‘Very soon’ looks to be fast approaching, as Mathieu might be on the verge of becoming the highest-paid safety in the league.

To make Mathieu the highest-paid safety in the NFL, that would require the Cardinals to cough up more than $54 million.

The New Orleans Saints signed Jairus Byrd to a six-year, $54 million deal with $18.3 million back in 2014.

Byrd has been in the league since 2009 and has snagged 23 interceptions. However, the former Oregon Duck only recorded one interception in the last two seasons since signing with the Saints, part of which was due to being placed on injured reserve in 2014.

Mathieu’s first three seasons in the league compare well to Byrd’s with the Buffalo Bills. Byrd intercepted 13 passes to Mathieu’s eight, but the Cardinal had the edge in total tackles with 180 versus the veteran’s 170. Mathieu also deflected 30 passes compared to Byrd’s 21 pass deflections.

The Cardinals can’t afford to lose Mathieu, and while he has certainly proven to be a valued member in the secondary and the community, his potential is through the roof. If the 24-year-old can stay healthy on the field, the Honey Badger could go down as one of the greatest Arizona Cardinal players ever.

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