Last year's No. 69 overall pick, Bills wideout T.J. Graham, received a $671,000 signing bonus with his four-year deal. This year's 69th pick? Zero guaranteed money, according to Sports Illustrated's Peter King.
Arizona used that early third-round selection on Tyrann Mathieu, the big-play defensive back who was kicked off LSU's team after failing multiple drug tests. The Cardinals took a big risk but are taking steps to protect themselves.
They'll randomly drug test Mathieu, perhaps even weekly, King reported. And instead of guaranteed money, “Mathieu will earn bonus money in the form of roster bonuses, to ensure that the club is protected in the event that he lapses and the team chooses to cut him,” King wrote. “For Mathieu to make that money, he'll have to be a member of the Cardinals in good standing week to week -- and clean.”
Mathieu likely will play free safety alongside corner Patrick Peterson, his LSU teammate in 2010.
Cardinals general manager Steve Keim believes Peterson's mentoring, plus Mathieu's passion for football, will help keep the Honey Badger focused on the right things.
"I'm not naïve about this,'' Keim told King. "I know the risk. But the risk to reward was enticing. His passion for the game is off the charts."