Tyrann Mathieu was incredibly valuable for the Kansas City Chiefs as a hard-hitting, rangy safety capable of playing multiple positions. However, it’s been a slow market for the former Pro Bowl selection. That’s starting to heat up a bit. Mathieu is visiting his hometown New Orleans Saints on Tuesday, according to a league source not authorized to speak publicly.
Tyrann Mathieu meeting with New Orleans Saints
Now that his three-year, $42 million contract has expired, Mathieu is looking for a new team. His exit from Kansas City was always expected, according to league sources not authorized to speak publicly, one year after contract discussions didn’t result in an extension. The two sides weren’t on the same page in terms of financial expectations.
The Chiefs’ safety position is also in good hands with Juan Thornhill and the recently-signed Justin Reid. Mathieu, 29, is an incredibly productive team leader who was named the team’s Most Valuable Player for the second time. However, other safeties like Marcus Williams with the Baltimore Ravens and Quandre Diggs with the Seattle Seahawks have cashed in.
The Saints have always been of high interest to Mathieu, and it’s long been a mutual situation of interest, according to sources. Even though the Saints lost Williams to the Ravens and signed Marcus Maye, Mathieu could further bolster the position. A big Mathieu contract may be something of a luxury item, but there’s still value with him.
A two-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time All-Pro, Mathieu had 76 tackles (60 solo), 2 tackles for losses, 3 interceptions, and 6 pass deflections last season. He returned an interception for a touchdown against the Ravens to boot.
Mathieu’s last deal included $26.8 million guaranteed, a $14.8 million signing bonus, and an average annual salary of $14 million. Mathieu had multiple NFL teams interested in his services the last time he was a free agent.
His 30th birthday is in May, but the view around the league is that Mathieu remains a viable player with something left to contribute as a leader and all-around defender. Like everything with free agency, this meeting will come down to price.