On Saturday, Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu was signing autographs at the Grand Opening of the Cox Solutions Store in Casa Grande. He was scheduled to be there for at least an hour or sign autographs for the first 200 fans, not only did he stay longer he signed every single person in line. Fans came from all parts of the Valley, and some from California (San Diego & Santa Barbara) The first person was in line at 3:30 AM.
“Birdseed” Five Questions with Tyrann Mathieu;
On getting a new deal with the Cardinals?
Tyrann Mathieu "We're both eager, we're both interested. I want to spend the rest of my career here. The biggest thing is getting my knee right, rehabbing and being ready for 2016.”
Mathieu mentioned the Cardinals have made an initial offer, didn't want to get into details about the negotiations but was optimistic that something would get done at some point. He'll turn 24 in May, drafted in the third round in 2013, 69th overall, making his first Pro Bowl & All- Pro season in 2015.
It's possible the Cardinals could use Earl Thomas four-year, $40M contract extension with the Seahawks as a benchmark. ($9.5M signing bonus, $25.7M guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $10M). Mathieu is three years younger than Thomas.
Thomas turns 27 in May, former first round pick in 2010 (14th overall) Five Pro Bowls (2011, 12, 13, 14, 15) & Three All-Pro (2012, 13, 14) Played in two Super Bowls. (2014, 2013)
When can fans expect you back on the field?
Mathieu "Hopefully they can see me back for training camp for right now it's going well I couldn't be happier, more pleased where I'm at right now in the direction I'm headed in. I'm really excited about next year what I'm going to be able to do."
Mathieu also said rehab is going well, and he's further along than he was the last time in the process after six weeks.
How does this team get better in the off-season?
Mathieu "The biggest key is getting some edge presence, getting a dominant force off the edge. Markus Golden has grown up; I think he had a hell of a season as a rookie, stepped up and played a big role for us. I think we need someone to complement his style of play. He's furious, he's a competitor, has a high motor, and I think if we can find something like that in the draft or free agency I think it will really help our defense."
There's been some chatter the Cardinals would like to add more length and athleticism in their secondary?
Mathieu "Well you don't know what's going to happen with the guys that are free agents, you see Patrick and the trends that's going on throughout the league you want guys able to cover big tight ends, cover wideouts so you want that versatility. That's where the NFL is headed not just us a secondary or our team that's a trend in the NFL if you can't have guys do everything you want to have long tall guys compete with any kind of body."
How about the Cardinals fans showing up in Casa Grande?
Mathieu "The Bird Gang has been tremendous this year with the great success we had this season as a team. They've been so supportive traveling to games. I remember looking at the Chicago (Bears) game and a whole row a Bird Gang fans. So anytime that I get time to make myself available for them, most of the time they just see me on TV with the helmet on. Anytime they see me in person I make myself available."