It always seemed likely but on March 14, just after 9:30 p.m. CT, the Kansas City Chiefs moved on from superstar safety Tyrann Mathieu.
In a signing reported by NFL insider Adam Schefter, Brett Veach and the Chiefs agreed to terms with rising defensive back Justin Reid — formerly of the Houston Texans.
The deal guarantees the 25-year old $20 million, with a potential of $31.5 M over three seasons. With the amount of cap space Kansas City has in 2022, this all but confirms that the ‘Honey Badger’ will not be returning.
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Upside Move Provides Mathieu Vibes
If the name Reid sounds familiar, it should. Justin’s older brother Eric Reid was a seven-year NFL pro of the San Francisco 49ers and Carolina Panthers. Football runs in the family and the younger of the two siblings has made a name for himself as a bright spot in a poor Texans defense.
A former third-round pick out of Stanford, Justin Reid started right out of the gates, with 12 as a rookie (15 appearances total) and 15 in year two. In four campaigns with Houston, the safety forced nine turnovers (seven interceptions) and recovered three fumbles.
He profiles as a well-rounded defender that’s entering his prime and although he’s not as big a name as Mathieu was when he first joined KC, he does provide some Honey Badger vibes. Reid has been called a leader on and off the field despite his age, and his hard-hitting ability has led to 315 career tackles (11 for a loss) and two sacks. He has also been credited with 23 passes defended.
It’s fair to note that Reid is coming off his worst-graded season according to Pro Football Focus but considering the Texans switched coaching staffs last year, that’s not something to get overly concerned about. At his best, the safety excelled as a tackler and a coverage DB.
He should pair nicely next to Juan Thornhill in this Steve Spagnuolo defense.
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Thank You, Tyrann
As we mentioned in the open, this undoubtedly ends Mathieu’s glorious run with the Chiefs. The team leader had been linked to many teams before free agency began and his social media activity certainly made it seem like he might be moving on.
NFL Network insider Mike Garafolo said it best after the announcement: “Tyrann Mathieu not expected back with the #Chiefs coming into free agency. This cements it.”
It won’t be easy to watch Mathieu play for another franchise after he accomplished so much in Kansas City. Chiefs Kingdom is forever grateful for his part in the Super Bowl victory over the Niners and all the wins before and after.
Having said that, this was a calculated decision by Veach and in the end, it was a smart one. Reid is almost five years younger than Mathieu and he’s much more affordable too.
The tough decisions are always hard, but the best general managers know the right time to move on from a player. This may be the first big move of the Chiefs offseason but it opens the door for much more flexibility going forward.