Cards ink 3rd-round pick Mathieu to contract

Updated: May 23, 2013, 5:03 PM ET

Rookie defensive back Tyrann Mathieu has signed with the Arizona Cardinals, the team announced Thursday.

Mathieu, who was drafted by Arizona in the third round of April’s draft, signed a four-year deal that includes a fully guaranteed signing bonus worth $662,500, league sources told ESPN’s Ed Werder.

The Cardinals took a bit of a risk in drafting the troubled but talented cornerback out of LSU with the No. 69 overall pick.

A Heisman Trophy finalist in 2011, Mathieu was kicked off the team by LSU coach Les Miles in preseason camp last August for failing multiple drug tests.

Mathieu, who didn’t play in 2012, was arrested less than two months later with three former teammates after police found 10 bags of marijuana and drug paraphernalia in his Baton Rouge apartment.

Mathieu spent two weeks in a drug treatment program run by former NBA player John Lucas and the months leading up the draft trying to rehabilitate his image. He spent some of that time with Patrick Peterson — his former teammate at LSU and new teammate in Arizona — who vouched for his friend to the Cardinals front office and coaching staff before they picked him in the draft.

The contract as structured does provide annual incentives to Mathieu if he performs and avoids off-field issues. Those are in the form of annual guaranteed roster bonuses paid if he is on the team on specified dates, the source said.

Agent Patrick Lawlor, who also represents Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson, would not confirm specific contract terms. But he does believe the agreement is reasonable.

“The deal is structured so that if Tyrann performs as we expect and has no problems then he will be rightfully paid the entire value of the contract,” Lawlor told Werder.

Information from ESPN’s Ed Werder and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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About Neil Farris

I have been covering sports since 2002 when I began writing for my college newspaper. Since then I have covered football regionally and currently work in the NFL department at All Sports Talk.