With free agency kicking off on March 16, the Kansas City Chiefs have now decided the fate of pending free agent safety Tyrann Mathieu in regards to his future in Kansas City.
The Chiefs aren’t expected to re-sign Mathieu, according to Pro Football Network’s Aaron Wilson.
“The two sides weren’t on the same page in terms of financial expectations,” Wilson wrote about Mathieu and the Chiefs on March 8. “The Chiefs’ safety position is also in good hands with Juan Thornhill, another consideration in those conversations.”
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After a Pro Bowl season, Mathieu is likely looking to get a contract that puts him near the top of the pay scale at the safety position. That type of contract would earn him roughly $17 million per year based on the average annual salary of the top two paid safeties in the NFL, Jamal Adams ($17.5 million) and Harrison Smith ($16 million), per OverTheCap. However, Wilson also explained that Mathieu may not be able to get that type of money elsewhere in the NFL either.
“Mathieu, 29, is headed into a somewhat complicated market. It could wind up somewhat disappointing for an incredibly productive team leader who was named the team’s Most Valuable Player for the second time,” Wilson wrote.
“The presence of other top safeties like the New Orleans Saints’ Marcus Williams and the Seattle Seahawks’ Quandre Diggs factor in, as do Mathieu’s financial expectations.”
While we will have to see wait and see what kind of contract Mathieu does generate this offseason, it appears that whatever contract he does earn won’t be from the Chiefs.
Chiefs Tagging Brown Pointed Towards Mathieu’s Fate
Kansas City opting to franchise tag starting left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. instead of Mathieu pointed towards Mathieu’s departure. However, the door was still open for Mathieu’s return to Kansas City.
Prior to the news of the Chiefs tagging Brown, Mathieu stirred the emotions of his social media followers by posting a cryptic message over the weekend, which noted him being essentially irreplaceable.
“Replacing me is easy. Getting them to do the same thing I did is damn near impossible,” Mathieu wrote on March 5.
While there is no context to Mathieu’s post, his message would be very relevant to Kansas City’s situation if they were to lose Mathieu to free agency.
As a leader on and off the field and a Pro Bowl-level playmaker during the 2021 season, there is no player the Chiefs could acquire this offseason — either through free agency or the draft — that could fill the void left by Mathieu in Kansas City’s secondary.
Where Could Mathieu Play Next?
While other suitors could potentially make themselves known once free agency is officially underway, Wilson wrote that the New Orleans Saints and Mathieu — who is from New Orleans — have a mutual interest in joining forces.
“The New Orleans Saints — Mathieu’s hometown team — are of high interest to him, and it’s a mutual situation of interest, according to sources, Wilson wrote. “If the Saints lose Williams, Mathieu could step in as a capable replacement.”
Here’s to hoping that free agency bodes well for a leader and talented playmaker for the Chiefs over the last four seasons.