Pro Football Focus projects 3-year extension for Tyrann Mathieu and KC Chiefs
By Matt Conner
While the Kansas City Chiefs take care of figurative business on the field with only two weeks left of the regular season, the front office is undoubtedly preparing for all kinds of very real business in the coming weeks and months. From free agent decisions both internal and external to the use of tags and more, each franchise’s team of personnel execs have a lot of work in front of them at this time of year.
One of the most obvious (and more pressing) decisions facing the Chiefs in particular is the expected contract extension to be given to star safety Tyrann Mathieu. For much of the last year, the Chiefs and Mathieu have been expected to come to terms on some sort of agreement to keep him in K.C. beyond the 2021 season (and to keep him away from the open market this spring). Until now, that hasn’t happened.
That’s not for a lack of interest on both sides. Mathieu has said he wants to finish his career in Kansas City in months past, and the Chiefs brass has all been united on this same front. From owner Clark Hunt to general manager Brett Veach to head coach Andy Reid, every single figure has stated they are committed to bringing back Mathieu and that they believe something will work out.
PFF projects the Chiefs will offer Tyrann Mathieu a three-year contract.
So far, the finances haven’t worked for a cash-strapped Chiefs team against the cap with several expensive players signed through 2021. Before the season, it was made clear that Mathieu was going to have to wait for what was promised, requiring quite a bit of trust in an industry in which such promises to players are easily cast aside. If there’s any drama to be found here, it’s in this nugget.
However, given the history of communication here and Mathieu’s obvious importance to the defense, it would be absurd for K.C. to do anything but follow through on their word. The question then at this point is what a contract might look like.
The folks over at Pro Football Focus recently took a swing at some postseason extensions and decided that Mathieu seems worth a three-year deal worth up to $46.125 million with $30 million guaranteed.
It should be noted that Mathieu is presently wrapping up a three-year deal originally signed before the 2019 season, so that length of time makes sense in that he’s already agreed to that sort of “long-term” play and yet it’s short enough to jive with his advancing age (every year of a new deal will come after the Honey Badger turns 30).
Mathieu is fresh off of another Pro Bowl season and seems certain to make the All-Pro team as well. His versatility in the back end of the Chiefs defense allows Steve Spagnuolo do so much, and Mathieu’s own production shows no sign of falling off. In addition, the safety position would look woefully thin in talent and depth without Mathieu there, so it’s not as if the Chiefs can even point to some younger talent in the pipeline who could step up—at least no one currently on the roster.
The value here might be underplayed a bit, however. Harrison Smith is 32 years old and he received $16 million annually from the Vikings for four seasons. If not for Smith, Mathieu’s deal looks right in line with the market, understanding that guys like Jamal Adams and Justin Simmons have a higher annual salary because they’re several years younger. Smith is an outlier then.
If Mathieu’s agents insist on Smith’s deal with Minnesota being considered as part of a new market norm, then it’s going to cost the Chiefs quite a bit more to sign Mathieu. It’s not cost-prohibitive but it’s not helpful. If so, the deal shown by PFF could climb by another $3-5 million in total over the life of the deal and perhaps could climb to four seasons instead.