Why being listed as a safety is impacting Tyrann Mathieu's negotiations

TEMPE, Ariz. -- If the Arizona Cardinals' Tyrann Mathieu does become the NFL’s highest-paid safety this summer, he’ll likely still be a significant amount behind the top-paid cornerback in the league.

The difference is staggering.

Seattle’s Earl Thomas is the NFL’s highest-compensated safety, making an average of $10.5 million per season in the first three years of his current contract, according to ESPN’s Roster Management System. Compare that to Washington cornerback Josh Norman, who will average $17 million per year for the first three seasons of his new deal.

Arizona already has the third highest-paid corner in Patrick Peterson, who’s averaging $15.58 million in the first three years of his extension.

But why would the cornerback market matter to Mathieu?

Despite being listed as a safety, Mathieu played 62.3 percent of his snaps last season at cornerback, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Pro Football Focus even rated Mathieu as the league’s best corner despite that not being his listed position.

In March, Mathieu told Pro Football Talk that he’s basically a nomad on the field.

“I don’t necessarily have a true position, so there’s different things that go into it,” he said.

As negotiations for an extension continue between Mathieu’s agent, Tom Condon, and the Cardinals, his listed position vs. where he actually plays will continue to be a topic.