The Arizona Cardinals have informed defensive back Tyrann Mathieu that he’s being released, reports Fox Sports. The two sides had been working to try to restructure his contract before roughly $18 million became guaranteed this week, but it appears the team has opted to simply part ways. The Cardinals save $14 million in cap space with the move.
Mathieu, known widely as the “Honey Badger,” has been one of the Cardinals’ top defensive backs over the past five seasons. In 2015, he was named to the Pro Bowl and the NFL All-Pro team after recording 80 tackles and five interceptions in 14 games. Last season, he put up 66 tackles and two interceptions while playing all 16 games for the first time.
Despite that production, the Cardinals reportedly asked Mathieu to take a pay cut from his current deal, which was set to pay a $13.75 million salary for 2018 along with a $5 million roster bonus Friday. His agent, Tom Condon, was discussing a restructuring of the contract, but an agreement couldn’t be reached.
“I hope, but I’ve been in the league long enough to know that it’s a business, and it’s not always about what I want,” Mathieu said of his desire to stay in Arizona on Tuesday.
There will surely be significant interest in Mathieu from other teams this offseason. He doesn’t turn 26 years old until May and could be an immediate upgrade to someone’s secondary.