When the Kansas City Chiefs let veteran safety Tyrann Mathieu walk in free agency earlier this offseason, the consensus was that Mathieu wouldn’t have any trouble finding a new home. Many believed he would sign a healthy contract reasonably soon after it appeared that the writing was on the wall.
For whatever reason, things have not worked out that way. One week away from the NFL Draft, Mathieu is still on the market.
During his pre-draft press conference on Friday afternoon, Chiefs general manager Brett Veach spoke about Mathieu's contract negotiations, the safety’s exit from Kansas City and whether or not the Chiefs would be open to bringing him back to play in Arrowhead.
Veach said that the Chiefs had general talks with Mathieu about the possibility of a contract extension last offseason, but the two sides were far apart on the numbers. Once the season began, talks were tabled.
“We certainly had broad concept discussions with Tyrann prior to last preseason,” started Veach. “When you have those kinds of broad concept discussions — to the kid’s credit and to his defense — those are usually geared toward team-friendly deals and what would make sense for us.
“We had a lot of hurdles with the contracts and players on our team. So when we approached him, you know our expectation was that this was a longshot for us. But you know, ‘Let’s see if we can get something done, but [we] totally understand his position and where he was.’”
Once the 2021 season was over, Veach said the Chiefs had to assess their priorities and figure out the best way to move forward. One situation that may have interfered with further discussions was the looming fact that Orlando Brown Jr. is currently under the franchise tag, and the Chiefs would like to get him signed to a long-term deal.
“Then you go into the season, and you know the player and the organization knows that once it gets into that next phase of evaluation and then the process of having guys under contract and then holding a franchise tag with Orlando Brown, it becomes tricky and you have to be able to pivot and shift quickly.
“And we did that. But [I] certainly can’t say enough about Tyrann and how we feel about him.”
Tyrann still being on the market
Asked whether he is surprised that Mathieu is still on the market, Veach said that when someone is as accomplished of a player as Mathieu is, it’s smart to take time to make a decision.
“No, because I think he’s a guy that you knows what he wants, and he’s going to be selective,” said the GM. “I’m sure he has some choices out there. He certainly is an accomplished player. He’s done a lot of things in this in this league, so I don’t think that he’s in a rush to make a decision.
“I’m not surprised just because when you’ve done the things that he’s done, and you’ve won Super Bowls and been to Pro Bowls, I don’t think there’s a need to rush; take all the information in, and spend time with your family and let the decision come to you as opposed to forcing a decision.”
Justin Reid’s contract and the possibility of a return
Mathieu sat down with a friend of the site, Kansas City Star columnist Sam McDowell earlier this month to discuss his exit from Kansas City. Mathieu told McDowell he was “heartbroken” that the team didn’t attempt to extend him. The safety even took it a step further in stating that if the Chiefs had offered him the same contract that they offered free-agent safety Justin Reid, who they signed to a three-year 31.5 million dollar contract, he would have accepted the offer.
Many have wondered if a Chiefs-Mathieu reunion is now out of the question.
“I think everything’s on the table and I think that goes for how we operate at all levels,” said Veach. “He’s a player that we know and we love and if there’s a situation that makes sense for him.... we wouldn’t close the door to that because of the way we feel about him.”
While it seems unlikely, you never know.
Should the Chiefs bring back Tyrann Mathieu?
This poll is closed
Yes — pay him what he wants
Yes — but only for a team-friendly one-year deal
No — it’s time to move on