Safety Tyrann Mathieu said receiving the most lucrative contract isn't the only goal in choosing his next NFL team.
"It's not all about money for me," Mathieu told SI.com. "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."
Mathieu didn't get that over the last two seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, who released him on Wednesday. The Cardinals missed the playoffs in back-to-back campaigns and underwent a massive overhaul to their coaching staff, presumably prompting Mathieu to decline the team's request for a pay cut.
In 2017, Mathieu played in all 16 regular-season games and recorded 70 tackles and two interceptions. The 25-year-old finished the previous two seasons on injured reserve, although he was named to the Pro Bowl in 2015.
"I've never made a secret that Tyrann has always had a special place in my heart and always will," Cardinals general manager Steve Keim said on Wednesday. "While we all understand this a part of the business, that certainly doesn't make it any easier. We all wish Tyrann nothing but continued success in his career and beyond."
Mathieu has recorded 303 tackles, 11 interceptions, four sacks and four forced fumbles since being selected by the Cardinals in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft.