Under his previous contract with Arizona, the versatile Mathieu was set to count a little more than $14 million against the cap. He played a full 16-game regular season for the first time in his career a year ago, finishing with 78 tackles, 2 interceptions and 1 sack.
Prior to his release, the Cardinals met with Mathieu and offered him a pay cut. Mathieu was schedule to make $10.75 million this upcoming season. There's a big need in the slot (and at cornerback in general) after dealing away Damarious Randall, and Morgan Burnett - who played all over the defense for former coordinator Dom Capers - is a free agent.
After signing a five-year deal worth $62.5million ahead of the 2016 season, he was due roughly $11m in both 2018 and 2019 after making $21m over the previous two seasons combined.
NFL.com listed the Packers among the seven teams that make sense for the Honey Badger. Not only would Mathieu give the Raiders an immediate upgrade over soon to be 35-year-old safety Reggie Nelson in coverage, but he is also a passionate player that coach Jon Gruden should love coaching. In 2015, he was named to the Pro Bowl and the NFL All-Pro Team.
Mathieu has spent the past five seasons as a member of the Cardinals.
A second ACL injury prematurely ended Mathieu's 2015 season. Mathieu only appeared in 10 games the following season and finished with a career-low 35 tackles.
The move by the Cardinals comes only a day after signing veteran quarterback Sam Bradford for a reported $20 million, one-year contract.
Fully recovered after tearing his ACL in 2016, Mathieu played more snaps than any player in the National Football League in 2017 and picked up 78 tackles, a sack and two interceptions.