Safety Tyrann Mathieu — despite being a Super Bowl winner, two-time team MVP, and two-time All-Pro during his stint with the Kansas City Chiefs — wasn’t offered a new deal this offseason from the Chiefs, according to Kimberley A. Martin of ESPN on March 14, which was confirmed by The Athletic’s Nate Taylor.
Even though Kansas City never went to the negotiating table with Mathieu, Mathieu has revealed what it “probably” would have taken from a contract standpoint to return to the Chiefs.
Speaking with Sam McDowell of the Kansas City Star, Mathieu revealed that if Kansas City had offered him the same deal they gave to safety Justin Reid — a three-year, $31.5 million contract — then he might very well still be a Chief.
“To be honest, if [the Chiefs] would’ve offered me Justin Reid’s deal, obviously I would’ve tried to negotiate, but if that’s where they drew their line in the sand, I probably would’ve took it. I probably would’ve took it,” Mathieu said.
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Despite Mathieu’s comments, it’s hard to know if he would have actually taken that kind of deal before testing the free-agent market as the top player at his position. However, now that he’s nearly a month into free agency, turning 30 on May 13, and is still a free agent, taking a Reid-type deal to remain in Kansas City should seem enticing to Mathieu.
As the old saying goes: hindsight is 20/20.
Mathieu Met With Saints, Eagles
Despite having not signed a deal yet, Mathieu has been drawing more interest from other NFL teams, which has sparked two visits so far in April. First, he visited the New Orleans Saints on April 5, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Then on April 7, Mathieu had a virtual visit with the Philadelphia Eagles, according to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport.
While there has been no official word of Mathieu signing with either the Saints or Eagles, Mathieu shared his thoughts regarding New Orleans the same day he visited with them.
“First and foremost, it’s a great opportunity with Dennis Allen stepping into the lead position,” Mathieu said, via The Advocate. “He’s a great defensive mind. I have a lot of respect for Mrs. (Gayle) Benson and the kind of things she does throughout the community. It’s a team I grew up watching. Any time I get to play in front of family and friends, it obviously gives me more energy. It would be a great opportunity if that was to come.”
Despite those thoughts, Mathieu gave less optimistic remarks about the reality of him playing for the Saints in 2022.
“I have a great relationship with Cam Jordan, Marshon Lattimore,” Mathieu continued. “The list goes on and on. Any time I see the Saints play defense, I always tap myself on the shoulder and say, ‘Hey, I could probably roll with those guys.’
“Those guys have done a great thing. The last couple years, they’ve been like top-five in defense. I don’t think they really need me, but it would be good to go back home and help them win.”
Why Mathieu Might Still Be a Free Agent
Rapoport reported after Mathieu visited the Saints that the two-time Chiefs MVP is in no rush to sign a new deal, and will wait until he feels the money and situation is right for him before he decides where he plays next. However, as ESPN NFL insider Jeremy Fowler detailed why there may be a disconnect between what Mathieu wants and what NFL teams see in Mathieu.
“The concern from some teams I talk to is that maybe Mathieu has lost a step because he’s played nine years, a lot of mileage,” Fowler said during ESPN’s SportsCenter on April 3.
Mathieu will enter the 2022 season at 30 years of age, and entering his 10th season in the league, the mileage is certainly there. However, that doesn’t mean the Honey Badger doesn’t have plenty of good football left in him, even if he has taken a step back.
On March 31, NFL insider Jordan Schulz detailed which teams have expressed interest in Mathieu.
“Numerous teams would love to sign Tyrann Mathieu, though execs I’ve spoken w/this week don’t feel he’s in a rush. The 4x All-Pro is a GREAT player w/interest from #Cowboys, #Colts, #Saints, #Broncos, #Eagles, #Ravens, #Steelers + #Cowboys (will Jerry Jones spend?) – among others,” Schultz wrote in a Tweet.
“Have also been told the #Raiders and #Dolphins have interest in Honey Badger, but again — I could potentially see this taking time as well,” Schultz continued in a separate Tweet.