The team has told the five-year pro that he will be released, according to Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer. Mathieu had four years remaining on a $62.5 million extension he signed in August of 2016. Per OverTheCap.com, Arizona incurs an $18.6 million dead money charge over the next three seasons as a result of the move but also realizes $33.2 million in cap savings over the remainder of his contract by releasing him.
Cardinals have informed the Tyrann Mathieau The Honey Badger they are releasing him
— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) March 14, 2018
Tyrann Mathieu to Be Released by Arizona Cardinals
Mathieu has spent the past five seasons as a member of the Cardinals. The former All-Pro safety appeared in all 16 games last year for the first time in his career. In 2017, Mathieu finished with 74 tackles, seven pass deflections, two interceptions, one forced fumble, and one sack.
Mathieu struggled to stay healthy for an entire season while in Arizona. After a terrific start to his rookie year, he tore his left ACL in week 15 which ended his season prematurely. He still finished with 68 tackles, nine pass deflections, two interceptions, a forced fumble and a sack and while getting named to the NFL All-Rookie Team.
In 2014, Mathieu appeared in 13 games for the Cardinals but dealt with a thumb injury at the tail-end of the season that forced him to miss some time. Mathieu had his best season in 2015 in which he appeared in 14 games, tallied 89 tackles, 17 pass deflections, five interceptions, one forced fumble, one defensive touchdown while making the Pro Bowl and getting named first-team All-Pro. However, a torn ACL in Mathieu’s right knee during week 16 caused the safety to miss the entire off-season which affected him the following year.
Despite the ACL injury, the Cardinals had faith in their safety and signed Mathieu to a five-year, $62.5 million dollar contract extension. Mathieu only appeared in 10 games the following season and finished with a career-low 35 tackles.
Even with the injuries, Mathieu has been considered one of the league’s most consistent and versatile safeties. He has recorded at least 40 tackles, three tackles for loss, one interception, one forced fumble and one sack in all but one of his five seasons. He has lined up at the free safety, strong safety, nickel and boundary corner positions during his time with the Cardinals.
Arizona drafted Mathieu in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft, taking him 69th overall. Mathieu played two seasons of college football at LSU, where he earned the nickname ‘The Honey Badger’ for being one of the more ruthless defensive players at the collegiate level. In two years, Mathieu had 133 tackles, 16 pass deflections, 11 forced fumbles, nine pass deflections, six sacks, four interceptions, two defensive touchdowns and added two punt return touchdowns.
Despite the astronomical numbers, Mathieu was viewed as a high-risk draft pick. He was kicked off the Tigers football program by head coach Les Miles in 2012 after failing his second drug test of the year. Mathieu took an entire season off from football but was still invited to the 2013 NFL Combine.