The Arizona Cardinals have a big decision to make in the next week.
They must decide whether to keep safety Tyrann Mathieu on the roster and commit nearly $19 million to him over the next two years.
If he is on the roster when the new league year begins March 14, he is due a $5 million roster bonus and all the money he is due in 2018 and 2019 becomes fully guaranteed.
General manager Steve Keim was non-committal about whether Mathieu will be cut or not when he spoke at the NFL combine last week, but based on what coach Steve Wilks said, if the Cardinals move on, it won’t be a football move. It will be a money move.
Wilks believes Mathieu fits in with what he wants the defense to do in 2018.
“The skill set he has, he can do so much,” Wilks commented at the combine last week. “He can cover, he can blitz. You look at things we’ve done in Carolina, he fits right into that mold. I like his skill set and see how he fits into the 2018 Arizona Cardinals.”
Mathieu did not play at his 2015 level before his second ACL tear, but he was a Pro Bowl alternate.
The question is not whether he is good enough to be on the team, it’s whether he warrants being paid like a superstar when his play is simply solid.