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Justin Bethel, Arizona Cardinals Agree to New Contract: Latest Details, Reaction

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistDecember 5, 2015

Arizona Cardinals cornerback Justin Bethel (28) lines up against the Cleveland Browns during an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015, in Cleveland. Arizona won 34-20. (Jeff Haynes/AP Images for Panini)
Jeff Haynes/Associated Press

Boasting one of the NFL's best defenses, the Arizona Cardinals have taken steps to ensure their long-term success by locking up star cornerback Justin Bethel with a three-year contract extension. 

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Bethel's new deal will pay him $15 million, with $9 million guaranteed and $1.8 million in incentives. Bethel's agents confirmed the deal to NFL Network's Rand Getlin

Darren Urban of the Cardinals' official website passed along official word of the deal:

Darren Urban @Cardschatter

#AZCardinals CB @Jbet26 officially signs 3-year contract extension with team prez Michael Bidwill. Story to come. https://t.co/ROBNdvt9rG

The 25-year-old has been one of Arizona's many success stories. He was an unheralded sixth-round pick out of Presbyterian College in 2012 and has appeared in 59 games in three-plus seasons with the Cardinals. 

Bethel was a breakout star in 2013, making his first Pro Bowl appearance and being named to the Pro Football Writers Association All-Pro first team on special teams. He's emerged as a bigger part of Bruce Arians' secondary this year, recording his first career interception in Week 3 against the San Francisco 49ers, while remaining a star covering kicks and punts on special teams. 

Speaking to Zach Buchanan of AZ Central Sports in October, Bethel admitted there was a learning curve he had to endure before taking on an expanded role. 

“I knew I was an athletic guy and I could make plays,” he said. “At this point, when you start playing elite receivers you’ve got to rely on technique to get you through when you’re tired.”

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The Cardinals have nurtured Bethel from his early days to make him one of their most valuable assets on defense and special teams. They rewarded his hard work with a nice contract extension, which will allow him to continue growing into his role. 

Bethel has the financial security taken care of, so he no longer has to take his attention off the field. Arizona is a strong Super Bowl contender in the NFC with a 9-2 record entering Week 13. Its commitment to talent like Bethel is a big reason for that success. 

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