Most wanted National Football League free agent? Arizona releases DB Tyrann Mathieu

Tyrann Mathieu Cardinals
Report: Former LSU standout Tyrann Mathieu cut by Arizona Cardinals, now a free agent

16 March, 2018

In a bit of jest, but also hopefully a little bit of reality, Heyward tweeted out that the now former Arizona Cardinal safety should give 97 a ring.

Tryann Mathieu was officially released by the Arizona Cardinals on Wednesday afternoon. Mathieu had four years remaining on a $62.5 million extension he signed in August of 2016.

People need to realize as much as he is loved in Arizona, this is also a business.

Following his release, Mathieu exchanged Twitter posts with supporters. The former All-Pro safety appeared in all 16 games previous year for the first time in his career. The second year defensive back finished with almost half as many tackles as his rookie season, only one interception and no sacks or forced fumbles in the same amount of games. He's essentially still getting better season-over-season.

His rookie season ended prematurely when he tore the LCL and ACL in his left knee.

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The Honey Badger's last two seasons with the Cardinals were not as productive as his 2015 season but Mathieu was still a solid contributor. Mathieu is likely looking for a bigger deal than he had in Arizona. This is still a big part of his game and a year ago, many of his big plays came in the fourth quarter in crunch time. When they made it to the NFC Championship Game in 2015 after going 13-3 in the regular season, it felt like their coming out party.

Matthieu refused to take a pay cut and now the 25-year-old becomes the most intriguing safety in the National Football League free agent market. Mathieu only appeared in 10 games the following season and finished with a career-low 35 tackles. He has lined up at the free safety, strong safety, nickel and boundary corner positions during his time with the Cardinals.

The Cardinals are worse without Mathieu, but that must be taken into context with their overall situation.

The "Honey Badger" is leaving the desert - but don't expect him to come to NY. While Mathieu's versatility allows him to produce from a variety of roles on the field, he is not a guy that will line up in man coverage every snap and lock down opposing slot receivers.

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