Arizona announced the move on Friday, with safety Trevon Hartfield taking his place on the 53-man roster. Mathieu has yet to play 16 games in a season, with three of his four campaigns ending via injury. In 2016, a nagging shoulder ailment did the damage. He played in 10 games this year, with one interception, one sack and 33 tackles. His rookie year also ended with a trip to IR in December after he tore his ACL and LCL.
This is often the side effect of a talented player pushing his way back from injury. Mathieu tore his ACL back in December of 2015 and still recovered in time for a Week 1 loss to the New England Patriots -- an expedited rehabilitation process that almost never goes according to plan. He first appeared on the injury report with a shoulder issue in 2016 at the end of October.
Mathieu told the team's official site last week that he didn't want to be shut down early.
"I'm not that kind of guy," Mathieu said. "I've heard stories of guys like that. I don't think I'm that guy. We've got three games left and I hope to be on the field for the last three."
While this is against his wishes, it may be in his best interest. The Cardinals' lost 2016 season is not the end of an era. The team is still loaded with excellent players and Bruce Arians remains one of the best head coaches in football. Should they try to regain control of the NFC West in 2017, a healthy Mathieu is paramount.
It's difficult to see the former third-round pick struggle so much with health-related issues after he turned his life and career around with the Cardinals. Now a fixture in the Phoenix community, the Cardinals wanted to ensure he would be a part of the team's success for years to come. They need to now protect that investment.