It’s been a very quiet free agency period for Kansas City Chiefs S Tyrann Mathieu so far.
Many Chiefs fans were taken aback when former Chiefs S Daniel Sorensen signed a free agent contract before Mathieu. The reported interest surrounding Mathieu has been lacking, but it seems that this might be self-inflicted. Speaking on the Pat McAfee show last week, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport explained exactly what’s going on with Mathieu’s market in free agency.
“I don’t get the sense that he’s in a rush at all,” Rapoport told McAfee. “Like every year there are a couple of free agents, who kind of just linger out there and wait for maybe the draft. Maybe if a team needs a safety, needs a leader, maybe they don’t get what they wanted in the draft, they come get him. I could see Honey Badger being out there for a while.”
Rapoport suggests that Mathieu hasn’t signed yet not due to a lack of offers, but because the offers he’s been getting aren’t commensurate with what he believes he deserves in a contract.
“Yeah, look he could have signed,” Rapoport continued. “(In)many places. It’s, ‘Are you getting the contract you want? (The contract) that you’ve earned.’ The really good ones who know their value will just hang out and wait. It doesn’t always work out, but a lot of times it does. Because if you’re a great player, you have all the leverage. You’re a great player. You just have to be patient and hang with it a little bit.”
As Mathieu waits for an offer that might not come, some teams have taken themselves out of the running. USA TODAY reporter Safid Dean was present for Dolphins GM Chris Grier’s chat with the media at the NFL owners’ meetings in Palm Beach, Florida. Grier said that they will not be pursuing Mathieu in free agency.
Miami isn’t the only team that seems to be out of the market for Mathieu, though. Despite a groundswell of fans clamoring for the Pittsburgh Steelers to sign Mathieu in free agency, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter Gerry Dulac says that the Steelers aren’t in the financial position to be players in his market. That’s because they’re looking to extend a safety that is already on their team.
“Despite wishful thinking on the part of the public, they are not in financial position to sign Tyrann Mathieu because of the large extension they are prepared to give free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, according to sources,” Dulac wrote.
One team to keep an eye on is the Las Vegas Raiders, who have a star defender doing some recruiting on social media. That said, the Raiders have financial problems of their own as they try and work out an extension for QB Derek Carr.
At the end of the day, Mathieu’s patience is a big risk and one that might not pay off with the deal that he wants. Instead, this could be a situation where Mathieu finds himself waiting for the best situation to present itself. So long as he remains available there is still a chance, albeit a slim one, that he returns to Kansas City in 2022. After all, the team finds itself around the top of the NFL in terms of salary cap space following the Tyreek Hill trade .