For a while, it made sense to question the commitment.
For an entire offseason, the Kansas City Chiefs and safety Tyrann Mathieu had said all the right things. Mathieu stated he wanted to remain in Kansas City beyond the coming season (2021), while everyone representing the team expressed the desire to keep Mathieu around. When that message comes from the team owner, the general manager, and the head coach, it feels all but official at that point.
Yet despite the public stances, nothing formed throughout the offseason. Even when the NFL Draft had come and gone and offseason training activities gave way to the doldrums of summer, the two sides still couldn’t find a way to make anything work without much else on the schedule. It was that point that questions started to be asked again.
Coming into this season, things only seemed to fray a bit more. As the team began to lose, some fans turned their interests to the future and the defensive miscues and poor performances during the first third of the schedule made some fans wonder about starting all over and jettisoning the team’s veterans.
Despite the lack of action and earlier drama with fans, all signs still point to a long-term extension for Tyrann Mathieu and the Chiefs.
Things got even worse as Mathieu began to spend more time on Twitter only to take offense at what he found. When it was clear he was even searching around for trolls (or doubters), his relationship with the fan base in general started to collapse—or at least it seemed. For all the overwhelming love that Chiefs Kingdom has had for Mathieu for the last few years, it suddenly felt unclear if things had reached some awkward point on and off the field that would make it tough to continue.
It turns out that the tension was nothing to be concerned about.
On the field, the Chiefs have turned things around completely and Mathieu has been a big part of that. If you watched the way he completely shut down Darren Waller in the team’s dominant win over the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 10, you know Mathieu looks as good as ever. Off the field, however, nothing has changed as well. All you need to do is listen to the one who will be writing the inevitable checks to know what will happen.
Team owner Clark Hunt spoke this week to reporters about the state of the franchise and a number of topics—from Arrowhead improvements to the team’s offensive line overhaul. Among those concerns raised was Mathieu’s deal. Here’s what Hunt had to say:
"“Those plans haven’t changed at all,” Hunt said. “It was something that we discussed with Tyrann (Mathieu) and his representative in the offseason before we started playing regular-season games. But really, once we got into the season, it’s really best for both parties to wait until the end of the year. We would obviously love to have Tyrann back, not only for his play on the field, but his leadership as well.”"
just like that, the clouds lifted. With a single statement, Hunt made it clear that there wasn’t a single category in which the Chiefs were disinterested in linking themselves with Mathieu. Off the field, he’s loved. On the field, same thing.
It’s taken longer than anyone thought it would, but the sides have their reasons to wait and it’s likely about cash on hand. The truth is that the Chiefs just need to wait until other contracts come off the books before replacing them with a deal for Mathieu. It doesn’t say anything about doubts on the team’s end or that he doesn’t deserve it. In the end, it sounds as if the Chiefs can count on seeing Mathieu in the defensive backfield for years to come.