In this young offseason, Arizona Cardinals fans know the team has set a few things as priorities. We know the team wants to improve its pass rush, but there is one player they want to make sure they lock up long term -- All-Pro safety Tyrann Mathieu.
He enters the final year of his rookie contract and is now able to sign a contract extension. The team wants to get him locked up before next offseason, when he would become a free agent. However, general manager Steve Keim is not saying it is a sure thing.
"I don't think there's any doubt that that's our goal (to extend his contract),' Keim said on the last episode of the Big Red Rage this past week. "Again it's hard to say that we;ll be able to get something done for sure, but we certainly have that goal in mind. There's no doubt that this organization wants Tyrann as a fixture for years."
His most recent knee injury complicates things.
He probably deserves to be the most highly paid safety in the league, but will he want cornerback money? He does play in the slot as often as he plays safety. But with the knee injury, will the Cardinals want a little protection against more injuries? After all, he has had two major knee injuries in three NFL seasons.
Mathieu has said he wants to stay here a long time. He said he doesn't play for money. But he will expect to get paid. He has an agent that works to protect Mathieu's interests, and in football that means securing his financial future.
You would think when the team wants to extend his contract and the player wants to stick around, it would be easy.
Maybe Keim is just tempering expectations just a little. Maybe it it is just a negotiation ploy. Either way, hopefully it happens.