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Tyrann Mathieu?


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Tyrann Mathieu became the top fish in a barren free-agent pond after being cut by the Arizona Cardinals on Wednesday.

The dynamic safety spoke to Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer after the release, and insists when he picks his next team it won't be about the dollars.


"It's not all about money for me," said Mathieu, ranked No. 5 in NFL.com's Top 101 Free Agents of 2018. "I want to go somewhere where I can be completely immersed in football, and it's not too much about anything but winning. I want to be a part of winning culture, where you feel that all the time. That's all I want."


That type of talk screams for us to link Mathieu to the New York Giants, who might be shorter on cash than some, but is where the safety's former defensive coordinator James Bettcher resides. Another former Cards DC, Todd Bowles, also coaches in New York with the Jets.


Talking about taking less money and actually seeing it happen for a top free agent in the prime of his career happens rarely -- if ever.


Per Breer, the 25-year-old Mathieu said the Cardinals wanted to take $5 million off the $11 million he was due in 2018. The Honey Badger also rejected a $3 million shave, leading to his release. Those rejections don't come unless a player's agent thinks he can recoup most, if not all, the cash on the open market.


While the fit will be important for Mathieu, when the bidding gets started for a multifaceted chess piece, who not long ago was a Defensive Player of the Year candidate, expect the numbers to soar.


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Youre right. Id rather have the 5 million a month from now when theres no one left on the market than 4 million on day 1 when teams are swooping in at the last minute and stealing all pro guards from us

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Section 1. Qualification: A player qualifying under the following criteria will receive an Injury Protection benefit in accordance with Section 2 below:


1. The player must have been physically unable, because of a severe football injury in an NFL game or practice, to participate in all or part of his Clubs last game of the season of injury, as certified by the Club physician following a physical examination after the last game; or the player must have undergone Club-authorized surgery in the off-season following the season of injury; and


2. The player must have undergone whatever reasonable and customary rehabilitation treatment his Club required of him during the off-season following the season of injury; and


3. The player must have failed the preseason physical examination given by the Club physician for the season following the season of injury because of such injury and as a result his Club must have terminated his contract for the season following the season of injury. This preseason physical may be given by the Club physician prior to the beginning of preseason camp, so long as such fact is clearly communicated in writing to the player at the time of the physical exam. The preseason physical examination given for qualification need not be the entire Standard Minimum Preseason Physical Examination, but shall be that necessary and appropriate to evaluate the injury for which the benefit is sought.

It is agreed that a player who qualifies for Injury Protection under Subsections 1(a) and 1(b) may be waived prior to being given a pre-season physical examination, but the waiving Club would retain Injury Protection liability unless and until the player signed a contract with and passed the physical examination of another NFL Club. In other words, a Club cannot evade Injury Protection liability by early waiving.


Section 2. Benefit: A player qualifying under Section 1 above will receive an amount equal to 50% of his Paragraph 5 Salary for the season following the season of injury, up to a maximum payment of: $1,000,000, in the 201112 League Years; $1,050,000, in the 201314 League Years; $1,100,000, in the 201516 League Years; $1,150,000, in the 201718 League Years; and $1,200,000, in the 20192020 League Years; in each case unless he has individually negotiated more injury protection or a larger guaranteed salary in his contract. A player will receive no amount of any contract covering any season subsequent to the season following the season of injury, except if he has individually negotiated more injury protection or a larger guaranteed salary in that contract for the affected year in question or if he qualifies for the Extended Injury Protection benefit described below. The benefit will be paid to the player in equal weekly installments commencing no later than the date of the first regular season game, which benefit payments will cease if the player signs a contract for that season with another Club. A player will not be entitled to such benefit more than once during his playing career in the NFL, and such benefit shall be reduced by any salary guaranteed to the player for the season following the season of injury.

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This issue came up a couple of years ago. The eagles wanted to cut Ryan Mathews but didnt want to pay the injury protection benefit, so they waited until he could pass a physical and immediately cut him the same day.

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