The Arizona Cardinals must make a decision about safety Tyrann Mathieu and his contract before March 14. If he is on the roster that day, the first day of the new league year, he is due a $5 million roster bonus and nearly $19 million is guaranteed for 2018 and 2019.

The Cardinals have offered Mathieu a pay cut, a change to his contract. He has not accepted it yet.

Based on a recent report by Arizona Sports 98.7 FM’s John Gambadoro, he won’t.

“I’ve spoken with some people very close to Tyrann Mathieu, guys that have played with him who told that me there’s no way he taking the pay cut that’s been offered,” Gambadoro said on the air on his radio show Friday. “He does not want to take a pay cut. He thinks he can make more money.”

While he did not know the actual numbers being offered, Gambadoro said, “it didn’t seem like it was a lowball offer.”

But any offer less than the terms of his contract might be an issue for him, even when it is well-known that the only money guaranteed in NFL contracts is the money explicitly stated that is guaranteed.

Mathieu was a Pro Bowl alternate last season and, while he was not the dynamic player he was in 2015, he played particularly well down the stretch of 2017.

Mathieu is set to earn a total of $11 million in 2018 and has a cap number of $14.1 million. The Cardinals will save $4.8 million against the cap and carry more than $9 million in dead money if he is released.

If he thinks he can make at least that much elsewhere, it makes sense for him to test the market and let the Cardinals release him. However, after two ACL tears and two years of play where he no longer looks like a special player, $11 million in cash per year might not be achievable now.

In any case, it seems inevitable Mathieu will be released in the next few days, and it will mark an end of the Honey Badger in Arizona.

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