No guarantees for Mathieu

Posted by Darren Urban on April 29, 2013 – 9:59 am

Good information (and not altogether surprising) info from Peter King this morning about third-round pick Tyrann Mathieu. There has been much said about the risk the Cards have taken to draft him after his drug problems. Even GM Steve Keim acknowledged to King “It’s uncharacteristic of our organization to take chances on guys with troubled pasts.” But King makes  a great point, and one that should be repeated: In the NFC West, teams like the Rams and the Seahawks seem to not care as much about character concerns when it comes to stockpiling talent.  Maybe that’s the price of doing business in what can honestly be called the NFL’s toughest division.

King also reports that Mathieu will receive random drug tests, as many as one a week (which is exactly what Mathieu said would probably happen, which he understood) and that the Cards will include no guaranteed money in his contract. Instead, his money will be delivered with a series of bonuses for sticking around and staying clean, which is the right way to go with a player who has had as many issues as Mathieu has had. If he washes out, it won’t save the loss of a draft pick. But it won’t hamstring the team either on the salary cap or with actual wasted dollars either.

UPDATE: Ian Rapoport reports that Mathieu’s agent — who happens to be Patrick Peterson’s agent — expects the Cards to try and protect themselves in the contract but that he won’t do a deal with no guaranteed money.

UPDATE II: On a Sirius interview Tuesday, Steve Keim said the Cardinals and Mathieu’s agent “are on the same page” with how the contract needs to be done.


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49 Responses to “No guarantees for Mathieu”

  1. By SteveG on Apr 29, 2013 | Reply

    Guaranteed $$? No chance..

    Second chance to be a REAL NFL player?…Priceless

    Lets hope we ALL win.

  2. By Mike on Apr 29, 2013 | Reply

    Risky pick, but LOVE the upside. I hope Peterson (and Minter) can straighten him out. We already have drug issues with one of our best players- DWash.

    Darren, off topic, but any indication when the official list of UDFA should be released?

  3. By Darren Urban on Apr 29, 2013 | Reply

    Mike —

    RE: UDFAs

    Sometime Monday.

  4. By georgiebird on Apr 29, 2013 | Reply

    Good article. Seems Cards have covered themselves financially.
    Here’s what I worry about with the Mathieu draft choice- It could be a drain on PP being a babysitter.
    Let’s face it, while PP is a great talent, he is nowhere near a finished product. Anything that will inhibit PP’s learning curve will not be good for the Cardinals.

  5. By kauaicardsfan on Apr 29, 2013 | Reply

    Everyone needs a second chance, but keeping him on a tight leash will keep him honest! Hopefully with the strong support structure in place at AZ he will be one of the best pics in the draft when we look back at the draft a year from now?
    Embrace the second chance Tyrann !!! Remember playing in the NFL is a privilege, and you have the god given talent to be a part of it!
    You will either be great or a bust! Its all on you now! Now go be GREAT!

  6. By iammattyoung on Apr 29, 2013 | Reply

    Something that often gets overlooked is the effect that abstaining from pot has on an individual: better sleeping and eating habits, clearer mind, better intepersonal relationships, more time to dedicate to other things. For the *chronic* user, all of these things lead to better health outcomes, and it’ll be interesting to see how being off pot affects Tyrann Mathieu. I’ll be very impressed if a guy his age (merely 20 years old) can master the perspective and maturity to prioritize his life and find the things that will really make him happy.

  7. By D on Apr 29, 2013 | Reply

    Talk about huge risk/reward, not sure I would have pulled this draft pick. If straight, he will be a good slot reciever defender, still think he is too small to play safety against those huge TE. Maybe this S from OK that they signed as Undrafted will make the team. I would still look to pick up a another Safety in free agency.

    This team has more depth in most of the positions than it probably ever has since coming to AZ. (only TE and S is really only questionable spots for depth)

  8. By George on Apr 29, 2013 | Reply

    I am rooting for “The Honey Badger”. The kid has talent that will help the Cardinals in the tough NFC West. I hope he can keep it together. I like what the Cards did in the draft overall. Go Cards.

  9. By DontTakeLosses on Apr 29, 2013 | Reply

    Sorry, jumped gun this am and posted this on prior post:

    “I’m not naïve about this,” Keim said. “I know the risk. But the risk to reward was enticing. His passion for the game is off the charts.” Re Honey Badger. Good stuff. No guaranteed $$ in his contract reported this am.

    Money move by Cards. Cards picking spots to take risk, time will tell if reward reaped. Hard not to be optimistic with PP sitting on him though.

  10. By Ricardo C on Apr 29, 2013 | Reply

    I really hope he pans out by staying clean our secondary would be electric even if he plays free safety …the sea chickens have a pro bowl safety in earl Thomas and he is undersized as well if he works hard enough our secondary can be explosive.

  11. By Eazy E on Apr 29, 2013 | Reply

    I think it is fair to make sure he is ok. People make mistakes and you shouldn’t ostracize them for past mistakes such as smoking weed. Many people do it but they just aren’t in the NFL. It does seem a little weird though in that it may be once a week. Maybe every 2-3 weeks but maybe every week? We should take more ”risks” on guys with pasts because if you say you believe in your locker room so much, it shouldn’t be a problem. Your job is to get as much talent on your team as possible. Rams and Seahawks are up there because they ain’t scared so I’m glad we are now adopting that mode.

  12. By Eazy E on Apr 29, 2013 | Reply

    Who are we kidding, WE ALL HAVE PASTS!!!

  13. By Eazy E on Apr 29, 2013 | Reply

    It just matters how important you are to reveal it good or bad, but we all have a little bit of both regardless of the person.

  14. By rudy on Apr 29, 2013 | Reply

    This guy is a great acquisition for the team, a spot that definitely needed to be filled considering tavon austin being added to the rams. We have a very tuff division and here’s to tyrran the man taking full advantage of this opportunity. We look fwd to seeing him put his best foot fwd while playing with his heart….welcome to the Phx (the fixx).
    BALL OUT!!!

  15. By Eric G on Apr 29, 2013 | Reply

    Stay clean honey badger. We want you on this team. You have a golden opportunity here, don’t waste it. I’d love to see what you can do in the NFL for a long time in Cardinal red..

  16. By Nor cal cards fan on Apr 29, 2013 | Reply

    I’m really excited about the potential of Mathieu, so i’m not trying to be negative here…but with that being said, i don’t think Keim’s quote about it being uncharacteristic for the Cards to take guys with troubled pasts is entirely accurate. Last year, they spent a first round draft pick on Michael Floyd, who had documented issues with the law while at Notre Dame.

  17. By joe holst on Apr 29, 2013 | Reply

    Hes a baller- daren, does he remind you a little bit of Aeneas williams? and why is everyone giving the 49ers credit for drafting a RB who isn’t even going to play this year in 4th round. Its not like hes adrian peterson.

  18. By carlo milan italy on Apr 29, 2013 | Reply

    may i ask u when the rookies will come to facilities ???

  19. By Darren Urban on Apr 29, 2013 | Reply

    Carlo —

    RE: Rookies

    There is a rookie camp a week from Friday.

  20. By Rico Suave on Apr 29, 2013 | Reply

    PROVE EVERYBODY WRONG HONEY BADGER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! make it happen..cant wait for the jersey to come out.

  21. By AzDesertRat1953 on Apr 29, 2013 | Reply

    Nice to see that the contract will help to keep him in line.
    I am one for giving someone a chance, but Do Not mess up or you are Gone!

    That being said, I too would love to see this Kid turn the corner and show that he can do in the NFL what he did in collage.

    GO CARDS!!!

  22. By Blair on Apr 29, 2013 | Reply

    Legalize it

  23. By lg on Apr 29, 2013 | Reply

    He’s happy to be a cardinal he will do the right thing i trust him.

  24. By Thomas77 on Apr 29, 2013 | Reply

    I know I’m gonna get lot’s of thumbs down on this one, but…I’m disappointed with the Cards on this pick. When a player with this level of talent is not allowed to play his final year in College because of a substance abuse problem, I gotta think it’s because he’s already had quite a few chances. So I’m not buying the “second chance” shpiel. I’ll root for him to come clean, but I don’t have much faith in it.

    Secondly, my step-son is a good athlete and loves football. But his bio parent made the choice to quit his kids rather than quit his weed addiction. Outside of trying to be the best role model for him myself, I like to point to athletes in sports he has interests in as good examples. And I like to tell him how much character counts in Professional sports, not just your talent. So with that being said, I’ll be sticking with Fitz, Cooper, and PP, among others. Will try to avoid discussions around Mathieu. I know professional sports isn’t a parent, but it is a nice tool to use when trying to help a young kid focus on positive character. Again, mistakes are one thing, chronic issues are another. This guy seems chronic (no pun intended). Now let the howling and boo-birds begin…

  25. By kauaicardsfan on Apr 29, 2013 | Reply

    I saw other posts that the cards plan on using Tyrann as a Free Safety, given his size wouldn’t he take a beating at that position after a while? Why wasn’t he considered as a corner back instead or is it false info going around?

  26. By Darren Urban on Apr 29, 2013 | Reply

    Kauai —

    RE: Safety

    They don’t see him as a true corner, other than select situations.

  27. By Mike Ellingboe on Apr 29, 2013 | Reply


    I respect where you’re coming from, but in light of the info you’ve given us I wouldn’t be too condemning of the Cardinal organization/Tyrann Mathieu. Your step-son is likely very conflicted about his father, so it’s probably a good thing for him to see this isn’t just a failure of judgment/behavior that’s only applicable to his situation, that even superstar athletes can succumb to life’s pressures as well. There’s a good opportunity for him to see that second opportunities do exist, and if this doesn’t go the way we hope, still an example of why it’s so vitally important to walk the straight and narrow, and the opportunities that can/will be lost otherwise.

    But no thumbs down from me, I get what you’re saying.

  28. By John The Draft Guy on Apr 29, 2013 | Reply


    I get exactly what you are saying. But what a great role model he could be if he turns his life around.

    Now , I dont mean to minimize drug use, because it ruins lifes and the ones around you, but he isn’t the Penn St coach or Rae Carruth (killed his girlfriend).
    I think this is a guy who got away with stuff for a long time. Then he had his lively hood and the thing he loved taken away. Hopefully that woke him up.

    If he doesn’t turn it around, cut him immediately (which it sounds like the cards have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to him). But I think he deserves this chance to move forward and prove he can do this.

  29. By ored on Apr 29, 2013 | Reply

    faced with losing out on a dream to play along with his peers and seeming like a last chance,i can see him turning back from the brink.he’s no longer a kid anymore,now he has to be accountable,what else does he know,where can he it’s all on him and if he truly is a special talent i think this is his new beginning,and we get to see it 1st hand,i just hope he is humble and remembers what where he came from.

  30. By Jason on Apr 29, 2013 | Reply


    You are entitled to your opinion and you do make some valid points. Is Tyrann a player you want your child to look up to? I’d say probably not right now, however if he is able to stay clean and overcome his adversity then why not? We all want our kids to make the right choices and we attempt to guide then through life limiting their mistakes but life sometimes gets in the way. Character isn’t necessarily about never making mistakes or falling down, it can also be shown in how you overcome your mistakes, learn from them, get back up and prevail. Tyrann has admitted his faults, taken his punishments and is willing to work to fulfill his dreams. He lost a year of football which in turn cost him the chance to be a first round draft pick and essentially millions of dollars in guaranteed money. You say because it took him longer to reach rock bottom where he realized everything he was jeopardizing that he is a lost cause. Roughly 30% of college students have smoked marijuana and its my opinion that number would be much higher if the entire student body was subjected to random drug tests. Was it wrong…sure, it’s illegal so it showed poor judgement on his part…but he was a college kid doing what college kids sometimes do.

  31. By Chuck 1 on Apr 29, 2013 | Reply

    I think that the Cards should use D. Wash as his mentor. 🙂

  32. By Campbells on Apr 29, 2013 | Reply

    This whole subject pisses me off. Obviously this young man made mistakes, but we don’t have to beat this into the ground. Not as if we snatched him up from the gallows.
    This organization needs to man-up and show some pride and conviction in making this pick. We aren’t going to benefit from treating TM like a mistake.
    (1) Pay him a fair salary (with incentives).
    (2) Treat him with respect.
    (3) Let’s move on!

  33. By Ottis Anderson Fan on Apr 29, 2013 | Reply


    Did the Cards discuss the issue of, “no guaranteed money,” with Tyrann’s agent before they drafted him? This could be a very big fly in the ointment and should Tyrann hold out, well, that would make Steve Keim and Bruce Arians look like a couple of the biggest suckers in the NFL.

  34. By Darren Urban on Apr 29, 2013 | Reply

    Ottis —

    RE: Contract

    Let’s worry about a holdout if it actually happens. I’m betting it doesn’t.

  35. By georgiebird on Apr 29, 2013 | Reply

    Mathieu’s agent is not buying the “no guarantee money” talk.

  36. By NJCardsfan on Apr 29, 2013 | Reply

    Hey Darren, I’m sure this question has been frequently asked, but do you know what number Mathieu will be wearing? Thanks for the help, and great job keeping us updated during the draft.

  37. By Darren Urban on Apr 29, 2013 | Reply

    NJCards —

    RE: Numbers

    As always, the entire roster — including numbers — can be found here:

  38. By Credit Card on Apr 29, 2013 | Reply

    The NFL has double standards. This kid will have to tow the straight and narrow line due to his checked past. Others, like Ray Lewis had drug, and criminal issues — but no big deal, since he sold tickets.

    I like the way his agent is not handing him with no $$$ up front, and allowing randum and frequent drug testing. My guess, he will stay clean. Lets not forget, he is a rookie, and will make rookie mistakes, eventually after a learning curve, he will be a decent selection. He has talent, speed, ball skills, and a good feel for the game — not every rookie FS has these qualities.

  39. By E.Smith on Apr 29, 2013 | Reply

    We made an very fair and honest offer to Mathieu by drafting him in round 3. We could have waited until found 5, 6, 7 or even FA, but felt his talent merited found 3. Most say no one else would have even drafted him considering the risk. The Cards deserve some protection and Mathieu needs some extra motivation to walk the straight and narrow.

    You give him guaranteed money and it’s guaranteed even if he falls off the wagon right after he signs. In “fairness” he should be willing to give up guaranteed money in return for the opportunity and position in which he was drafted. If he stays on the wagon, he will likely make his full pay.

  40. By clssylssy on Apr 30, 2013 | Reply

    This kid is a GREAT athlete who has had some much publicized problems in the past and, now it seems, all the media hype is on his PAST rather than the present or his future. I sincerely hope that the Cards would not draft him if they thought he was going to be such a risk he would needed to treat less fairly than other draftees with regard to guaranteed money. This makes the Cards amd Steve Keim especially, look they are trying to get “something for nothing” and are exploiting a person because of their life circumstances and past veiled descrimination?). I really wish that everybody could just move on from this issue and if the Cards are going to give him a chance, then do just that with equal treatment. I think this guy is so anxious to start over and get his career going he would agree to anything that would allow him to play ball in the NFL. Certainly there are enough felons in the league that don’t have “strings” attached to their contracts and I even wonder why they continue to get chance after chance. Tyrann’s teammate from LSU who got into the much publicized altercation with the police office during the draft and got himself jailed was drafted by the Seahawks with no mention of any kind of “strings” or “conditions” in his contract. I hope all this media garbage via Peter King
    and Mike Floriio is a misunderstanding and the Cards will clarify this issue in such a way that they won’t end up looking like total jerks. I was very proud of the Cards for drafting Tyrann and think he could be a major playmaker and worth the third round pick. Certainly we could have gone after Montee Ball, Eddie Lacy or somebody else but I was happy getting the Honey Badger; the Cards needs ballers!

  41. By Buddy Lembeck on Apr 30, 2013 | Reply

    E. Smith –

    I disagree for one reason. This team should have done their Due diligence prior to selecting him in the third round. We made the pick, I’m fine with the random drug tests in his contract, but pay this guy some kind of guaranteed money. If he comes in and has been on the right path and works his butt off for your organization while doing so, he doesn’t deserve some sort of compensation if he were to get hurt? He’s putting his well being out there for you!

    I guess I agree with Campbells on this one. If we treat this draft pick like a mistake and never move on from it then I am going to look at it as an organizational flaw. That says “we know when we’ve made a mistake and we did it anyway.” I for one think it was a great pick and never thought it to be a mistake for one moment. Dude has shown nothing but remorse since losing football. Yet everyone wants to say ” yeah, but you messed up and we’re going to remind you of it every day regardless of how you’ve turned around so far.” Before ya’ll condemn one man for his mistakes, check your own at the door.

  42. By Eazy E on Apr 30, 2013 | Reply

    I think he can be an outside CB because he is fast(ran a 4.50), great ball skills, instinctive, quick, leaping ability(34 in.) and strong especially for his size. Maybe he’s a Tim Jennings in Chicago or Antoine Winfield or somebody else y’all may think of but who on here would be complaining about that??

  43. By Eazy E on Apr 30, 2013 | Reply

    There is no way he signs for NO guaranteed money!#Horrible

  44. By Eazy E on Apr 30, 2013 | Reply

    In the NFL, you never sign for NO guaranteed money it is way too risky. Like Revis, he’s betting on himself with the contract from Tampa Bay but you can’t predict injuries and God forbid him getting injured a couple times because he wouldn’t see close to 96 M if that happens.

  45. By Eazy E on Apr 30, 2013 | Reply

    Honey Badger will be a good or great player for us at safety too because of what I just mentioned, instincts, ball skills, speed, quickness, etc.

  46. By Mark on Apr 30, 2013 | Reply

    Sports in general would be better off without agents. This guy is a drug addict. His drug of choice is pot. The risk is all on the Cardinals and it is just a matter of time before he gets caught again. Don’t waste any money on this guy.

  47. By Cert 33 on Apr 30, 2013 | Reply

    Could be an interesting pick. However, the Cards are fools if they give him one cent in guaranteed $$$. Remember how Rosenhaus fleeced the Raiders for $31 mil with Jamarcus Russell.

  48. By ored on Apr 30, 2013 | Reply

    contract should be a non issue,drug test each week before game,if he passes then that week is guaranteed,if not,see ya.i know the contract issue will be worked out,they just blew through tens of millions with kolb and snyder,this guy is on a rookie contract,no big deal.i’m more interested in seeing how he handles nfl players,he’s small,light,quick,but not overly fast(i think i read somewhere he was torched by austin),does’nt mean he can’t do it,but will be interesting to see how.i wish him the best,not only for the cards but it’s always nice to see a turn around story

  49. By Jason on May 1, 2013 | Reply


    Way to not be judgmental…let he without sin, cast the first stone? I think that’s how it goes.

    The “coach” who made the claim that Tyrann had failed over 10 drug tests while at LSU did so under a condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak about the evaluation process…how about this mans character? If the claim is even true…and i’m not not saying it isn’t true, but it wouldn’t be the first time that someone leaked information about drug use/abuse. In 1983 there were widespread rumors that Dan Mario had a drug problem which possible caused him to fall. Obvisouly, Tyrann was removed from the team so it’s not exactly the same situation. I just find it insulting that you would disparage this kid when you don’t know him or have any real knowledge of the situation. He says that he has been clean since October and he passed his drug tests during the combine. The fact is that the Cards knew he had a drug problem, they did their due dilegence and decided that he was worth the risk. They will negotiate his contract and pay him what they feel is appropriate.


    Completely different situations…Russell was drafted before the new CBA so his contract negotiation starting point was what the prior #1 overall picks rookie contract was. That was the reason the CBA rookie wage scale was needed because the salaries were just escalating to astronomical, franchise killing contracts for players who hadn’t played a down in the NFL. Plus, his knock was that he had a poor work ethic and desire which was evident when he showed up for training camp @ 300+lbs.

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