Cardinals DB Bethel signs three-year, $15M extension


Yet another member of Arizona's top-shelf secondary is about to get paid.

After Patrick Peterson inked a seven-year, $83 million deal in 2014, the Cardinals have signed defensive back and special-teams Pro Bowler Justin Bethel to a three-year contract extension. Sources told NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport the pact is a $15 million deal that includes $9 million in guarantees along with another $1.8 in incentives.

Rapoport was told that the new deal was seen as a "priority" inside the building.

Bethel has served as a reliable subpackage player for the surging Cardinals, stepping in for injured cornerback Jerraud Powers in last week's win over 49ers and set to reprise that role Sunday against the St. Louis Rams. With just one career start, Bethel is an emerging player in the secondary.

An outstanding special teams contributor, Bethel has also played a career-high 210 snaps on defense this autumn, grading out as the league's 25th best cornerback, per Pro Football Focus. The metrics site also has Peterson notched at No. 17 and Defensive Player of the Year candidate Tyrann Mathieu sitting above them all at No. 1.

Coach Bruce Arians has been enamored with Bethel for years, saying in July that the 25-year-old "might have had the best spring of anybody."

"I told you a number of times how I feel about him," Mathieu said this week, per "Athletically, I feel like he's just as gifted as Pat (Peterson)."

Based on his special-teams prowess alone, Bethel was a logical candidate for a new deal with his contract set to expire after the year. The money is more than some would expect, but the Cardinals are making it crystal clear how they feel about Bethel's potential.