After a flurry of other free agent moves around the league on Monday, the Chiefs struck by signing versatile safety Tyrann Mathieu. The deal is for $42 million over 3 years. Mathieu was reportedly offered a long term for an average annual value of $9.5 million to stay with the Houston Texans. Instead, he cashes in on an average annual value of $14 million. But it’s not all about the money for Mathieu. He’s ready to win a championship ring, as he tweeted earlier in the offseason:
Getting money is cool, but I want a ring.
— Tyrann Mathieu (@Mathieu_Era) January 20, 2019
Mathieu was selected in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals. Then Cardinals head coach, Bruce Arians, was a key component in getting Mathieu in a position to succeed in the NFL. From Arians, Mathieu learned how to become a leader and a fighter on the defensive side of the ball.As a result, Mathieu, in just 13 games, earned a first-team All-Pro nod as a rookie.
Mathieu’s career continued to get better each season in Arizona as a cornerback. In his first three seasons, he combined for 194 tackles and 8 interceptions. Consequently, the Cardinals rewarded Mathieu with a 5 year/$62.5 extension heading into 2016.
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Unfortunately, Mathieu would play his fewest games in a single season (10) that year after receiving the extension. Shoulder issues plagued him all season and he was eventually placed on Injured Reserve in December. Mathieu would finish that 2016 season with a career low in tackles and just one interception.
In 2017, he came back strong and played a full 16 games for the first season in his career. Mathieu was really starting to look smooth again. But after refusing to take a pay cut, the Cardinals would release him following the 2017 season.
So in 2018, Mathieu decided to take a one-year prove-it deal. He signed with the Houston Texans for 1 year/$7 million. Mathieu once again played a full 16 games last year and instantly became a leader in the Texans locker room. Playing at safety allowed him to display different qualities he can bring to a defense. That is his versatility to play all over the field, he also flies up and rarely misses in run defense. This is something the Chiefs desperately needed on the back end and they got it.
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Going into last season, it looked the Chiefs may have had a shot at Mathieu. It didn’t happen then, but the Chiefs zeroed in on him this offseason. And they struck gold. Mathieu was apparently viewed as the Chiefs top free agent acquisition target. This is not the first time that general manager Brett Veach got the top guy he wanted. Last year it was Sammy Watkins, who ended up signing a similar three-year deal to the Mathieu got. Again he can do it all: cover man to man, play deep and short, and he’s aggressive in run support and as a tackler. He’s been used in so many positions in his career such as safety, outside, nickel and slot. He’s been at his best the last two seasons, now Mathieu looks to win the big one with the Super Bowl contending Chiefs.
Be sure to stay connected to Full Press Coverage all week as the free agency period continues. Thank you for reading.