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Mathieu and the Cards' contract cliff

Tyrann Mathieu is going to get a contract extension. When, exactly, remains an unknown, although Ian Rapoport reported Monday the team and Mathieu are "deep in negotiations" toward a deal. I've long felt this was a matter of when and not if with the all-pro safety. For a multitude of reasons for both sides, it behooves both to get a new contract done.

But from the Cardinals' end, a big reason to want to lock up Mathieu is because of the laundry list of players who, as of right now, are free agents after this upcoming season. It's a subject we've talked about before, and the reality is not everyone will be with the Cardinals after this year. Still, if you have hope to having some guys around, you'd think the Cards would want to pare down the work facing them before this year ends. Here is the list -- and it doesn't include every single FA-to-be -- of guys who are contract-less after 2016, as it stands right now:

-- S Tyrann Mathieu -- WR Larry Fitzgerald -- OLB Chandler Jones -- DT Calais Campbell -- WR Michael Floyd -- G Evan Mathis -- DT Frostee Rucker -- RB Chris Johnson -- RB Andre Ellington -- S Tony Jefferson -- TE Jermaine Gresham -- OLB Alex Okafor -- ILB Kevin Minter -- WR Jaron Brown -- S D.J. Swearinger -- RB Stepfan Taylor

That isn't the entire list, but those are the bigger names. Obviously, each are taken individually to an extent. Some guys the team will just move on from in the normal course of roster change in a salary-capped world. But big picture, it's a puzzle GM Steve Keim and his department are working on as this season approaches.