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Tyrann Mathieu says Cardinals have leverage currently in contract negotiations

Safety knows he has to be patient.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Cardinals have stated this offseason a priority is to get safety Tyrann Mathieu signed to a long-term extension. There are some obstacles. For one, he is recovering from a torn ACL. The team is also flush with the salary cap right now, so at the moment it seems unlikely anything will happen.

Mathieu recently described how he expects the negotiations to go, calling them a wrestling match.

Speaking to reporters recently (via NBC Sports 1060), he attempted to clarify his comments, essentially saying the team currently has the leverage and it will be a long process to get a deal.

"What I meant was is, obviously, both sides are going to make an argument about what (I) can do and cannot do," he explained. "For me, it's just about being patient, playing it smart, and like I've always said, the biggest thing is getting back healthy. I feel like the leverage is really in the Cardinals corner, so for me, it's just about being patient."

Perhaps he is willing to go another season and show he is dominant again coming off another knee injury before signing on the dotted line.

He is due to make more than $1.7 million 2016.

How much will his new contract end up being? Earl Thomas got four years, $40 million two years ago. That's a good starting place, considering the direction of player salaries. He also plays more nickel corner than safety, so he might try to fight for money more like a corner, who get paid more than safeties typically.

Mathieu is not being difficult about it. He understands the business of the NFL. He has no intentions of leaving the Cardinals. He has said money isn't the most important thing and that he would like to stay in Arizona forever.

But as things stand, it does make sense to be patient.