According to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport, the playmaking stalwart of Arizona's defense, who tore his ACL back in late December, will be an offseason priority for general manager Steve Keim. Though Mathieu has one year left on his current deal, the team wants to ink him to a long-term pact that could end up making him one of the highest-paid safeties in football.
Per Rapoport, they are not scared of Mathieu's history of two ACL injuries.
Mathieu was a brilliant pick for a coach like Bruce Arians, who seems to be able to handle any situation that comes his way. Though Mathieu had a turbulent ending to his college career, which scared plenty of teams away entirely, his playmaking ability and natural football instincts were never in doubt. He ended up transforming the Cardinals' defense and was arguably the best player at his position this season.
Mathieu finished his shortened season with five interceptions, a touchdown, 17 pass breakups, 80 tackles and a forced fumble.
The production alone is scary, but the emotional value Mathieu has brought to the team only increases his price tag this offseason. He is traveling with the Cardinals throughout the postseason and will be in attendance Sunday in Charlotte, North Carolina. So long as the medical reports check out, this seems to be a match made in heaven for Arians and Mathieu. And it also looks like a well-deserved pay day for a would-be first-round pick that turned his life around.