It seems as though the relationship between the Kansas City Chiefs and two-time first-team All-Pro safety Tyrann Mathieu has folded. After encouraging conversations before the start of free agency, not only has Chiefs general manager Brett Veach not sent Mathieu a contract but also brought in his replacement, signing former Houston Texans safety Justin Reid to a three-year deal. With Mathieu finding a new destination, let’s make predictions for his 2022 free agency landing spot.
Free agency predictions for Tyrann Mathieu
When the 2022 NFL season begins, the Honey Badger will be 30 years old. While not a concern as an aging vet, it likely means that any long-term deal could take him to the end of his career. His stint with the Chiefs were some of the more productive seasons of his career, clearly showing he’s not hanging it up anytime soon.
While Mathieu parts ways from the Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes juggernaut, there are plenty of franchises on the cusp of contending. Let’s dive into some places the Honey Badger could immediately impact.
New Orleans Saints
This offseason, the Big Easy has seen some high-profile players take their talents elsewhere. Starting safety Marcus Williams signed a five-year, $70 million deal with the Baltimore Ravens to shore up their secondary. Meanwhile, WR Tre’Quan Smith is visiting with the Falcons, and LT Terron Armstead is likely to pursue free agency after Houston traded QB Deshaun Watson to the Browns.
However, the situation has changed in New Orleans. They can finally sign players again. The restructuring period and purge of contracts have taken New Orleans from over $40 million over the salary cap limit to having $24.5 million available in cap space as of March 20.
A move to bring Mathieu back home to New Orleans is feasible and makes sense. Malcolm Jenkins and Marcus Maye are the starting safeties at the moment. Inserting Mathieu into that group improves an impressive secondary and makes a top-five NFL defense even better.
The Honey Badger grew up in New Orleans and played college football at LSU. This signing gives the fans a hometown player to rally behind. While the Saints need to address the QB situation, keeping this defensive unit as good as possible can help take some pressure off the offense. Mathieu signing with the Saints makes too much sense at this point.
How does a team with a +14 turnover ratio in 2021 get even better? Lock down a ball-hawking safety who intercepted 13 passes on his last contract. The Indianapolis Colts defense is a unit to be reckoned with, but it can become better with Mathieu.
The Colts defended well against the run but were in the league’s bottom half against the pass. The front seven is loaded with talent. The Colts’ defensive line features DEs Kwity Paye and Yannick Ngakoue and DT DeForest Buckner. Behind them is three-time first-team All-Pro linebacker Darius Leonard.
However, the secondary does not quite have that go-to guy like the other units. Mathieu gives a light safety room more depth and gives the secondary an experienced voice of leadership. The Super Bowl LIV winner would slide right into a unit with a knack for turnovers. The best part for Indianapolis? They can still outprice anyone with the most available cap space left in the league.