Jalen Thompson arrived in Arizona in 2019 after being selected in that year’s supplemental draft. Three years later, the versatile safety is signing a contract extension, the Cardinals announced Friday. The extension is for three years and worth nearly $40 million, according to NFL Media. The deal also includes $24 million guaranteed.
Thompson, 24, started in nine games as a rookie, recording his first career interception that season. After an ankle injury wiped out most of his 2020 season, Thompson came back and had his best season to date in 2021. In 17 games (12 starts), Thompson tallied three interceptions, seven passes defensed and 121 tackles while helping the Cardinals clinch their first playoff berth since 2015.
Thompson was listed as a strong safety as a rookie before moving over to free safety in 2020. He is part of a talented secondary that also includes strong safety Budda Baker, cornerback Byron Murphy Jr., Antonio Hamilton and newcomer Trayvon Mullen.
The Cardinals’ secondary will be tested early and often this season, especially with Hamilton being placed on the NFI list after a cooking accident. The unit starts the regular season with games against quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes, Derek Carr and Matthew Stafford. The rest of their schedule includes games against Jalen Hurts, Kirk Cousins, Justin Herbert, Mac Jones, Russell Wilson, and Tom Brady.
Arizona’s over/under for the season is slated at 8.5 games, according to Caesars Sportsbook. The Cardinals started 7-0 last season before injuries contributed to a 4-6 finish. Arizona still managed to clinch a wild card playoff berth before falling to the eventual champion Rams in the first round.