Kansas City Chiefs general manager Brett Veach is hoping to clear the air on the recent conversations surrounding the lack of progress on an extension for star safety Tyrann Mathieu. On Wednesday, the longtime exec blamed the absence of a new deal on cap space.
“The landscape is super tricky,” Veach said from Chiefs training camp in St. Joseph, via ESPN’s Adam Teicher. “We’re at a $30 million [salary-cap] deficit from what we thought, and next year it’s $15 million. Right now some things are out of our control just because of the cap reductions this year and next year. If you look at our books for next year, we’re going to be over by a bunch.”
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The exec clarified (again) it’s not that he doesn’t want Mathieu at Arrowhead, it’s just far more complicated than putting pen to paper.
“It’s frustrating because we’re handicapped a little, and there are only certain things we can do to make it make sense for him. But where we are now is going to be completely different than where we will be once the season ends, and we have a lot more clarity on contracts and how the money is disbursed and allocated and how we can fit things and how we can make it work. It’s just tricky right now. But it has nothing to do with us not wanting him or him not wanting to be here. It’s just one of those unfortunate timing things.”
The 29-year-old is entering the final year of a 3-year, $42 million deal he signed as a free agent from the Houston Texans in 2019. Mathieu is still an active member of the Chiefs’ roster, and let’s hope it remains this way for years to come.
Mathieu Offer Words of Wisdom for Young Chiefs Athletes
Despite what’s happening on the salary front, Mathieu isn’t letting it phase him. In fact, he’s doing whatever he can to instill some confidence in other players. The Chiefs currently have 90 members on their roster, and they’ll need to trim it down to 53 by Week 1. There’s considerable tension in the run-up to the final announcement, but Mathieu had nothing but optimistic advice for players desperate to secure a spot in the final lineup.
“[My message is for them to] play as hard as they can. There’s no pressure at all. This is the same game you’ve been playing since you were five years old,” he said. “Just go out there, have fun, understand your responsibilities and let loose. Let the world know who you are.”
The Landlord Learned From the Best
There’s no shortage of individuals who have influenced Tyrann Mathieu, but perhaps no person is more impactful than Larry Fitzgerald. The veteran wide receiver played alongside Mathieu in his early years with the Arizona Cardinals and Fitzgerald’s demeanor appears to have had a lasting impact on the former LSU Tiger.
Via The Kansas City Star: “Just the professionalism, man, coming to work each and every day, being where your feet are,” Mathieu said. “He’s probably one of the best at that. And then the work he put in on the field. I remember when I came in, obviously he was well invested when I was a rookie, and just the kind of work he put in. Every time he caught a football, he tried his best to take it to the end zone.
“And even helping out younger guys, whether it be offensively, defensively, he was always that guy that was willing to help. And so like I said, man, I’ve been always blessed to be in a locker room with some great guys that I can really learn from. He’s probably at the top of the list.”
While it still remains unclear whether Fitzgerald will play for a 17th season, at least he’ll walk away from the game knowing he enriched the life of at least one person.