Tyrann Mathieu cut by Cardinals after five seasons and a Pro Bowl

After refusing to take a pay cut in Arizona, it looks like Tyrann Mathieu's time with the Cardinals if officially over. 

The Cardinals announced Wednesday that the defensive back has been released. The writing has been on the wall for at least a week. On March 8, Mathieu made on appearance on NFL Network and basically said there was no way he was going to take a pay cut, even if that was the only way the Cardinals were going to keep him. 

"There's many ways you could restructure a contract instead of just taking money out of my pocket," Mathieu said. "Taking money out of my pocket, I don't like how that feels."

The Cardinals had to make a decision quickly on Mathieu and that's because $18.75 million of his salary over the next two years was set to become fully guaranteed by March 16. Not only was Mathieu on the books for a $5.75 million base salary with the Cardinals in 2018, but they were also going to owe him a $5 million roster bonus if he had still been on the roster at 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday. 

Not to mention, Mathieu would have also seen $8 million of his 2019 become fully guaranteed if he had still been on the roster on March 16. Basically, Mathieu wanted the entire $18.75 million that was in his contract and the Cardinals didn't want to pay that, which is why he's now a free agent. 

Mathieu became expendable after the Cardinals brought in a new coaching staff led by former Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks. 

The good news for Mathieu is that there should be a strong market for his services. Although he's battled with injuries for most of his career, Mathieu did play in all 16 games last season, which marked the first time that he's ever done that during his five years in the NFL

The former Pro Bowler is only 25, which should make him a hot commodity on the free agent market. One team that could look to add Mathieu is the Giants. Former Cardinals defensive coordinator, James Bettcher, now has the same position in New York, which could make that an attractive option for the Honey Badger. 

So what are some other options for Mathieu? For the answer to that question, be sure to click here and check out some other potential landing spots for the Honey Badger

CBS Sports Writer

John Breech has been at CBS Sports since July 2011 and currently spends most of his time writing about the NFL. He's believed to be one of only three people in the world who thinks that Andy Dalton will... Full Bio

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