A full season of speculation about whether or not the Kansas City Chiefs would bring back safety Tyrann Mathieu ended with less drama than expected. When free agency came and went, the Chiefs did in fact let the Super Bowl-winning defensive back go.
Instead, the Chiefs signed the younger, and also former Texan, defensive back Justin Reid. The signing seemingly spelled the end of a Chiefs/Landlord reunion. But, the Chiefs’ backstops are still kind of up in the air. In addition to losing Tyrann, the Chiefs also let longtime teammate Daniel Sorenson hit the road too. Dirty Dan ended up signing with the Saints. To a lesser extent, they also lost Armani Watts, though he was a special teams performer more than anything.
This really just leaves Reid and Juan Thornhill. This might not be a bad matchup if Thornhill can reach his potential. It may be hard to remember, but Juan actually had a pretty solid rookie year before he tore his ACL in the final game of the 2019 season, just before the Chiefs went on their Super Bowl run.
After letting their star safety test out free agency, Tyrann Mathieu is still on the market. What would it take to get a reunion with the Chiefs?
Despite such a promising start, Thornhill’s been a bit of a mystery the last two seasons, as Spags has seemingly forgotten he was even on the team at times. This is why it’s a bit surprising to think that Reid and Juan will form some dynamic duo.
Back to Mathieu. It’s not entirely clear what he wants to do, but he’s visited some teams like the New Orleans Saints and Philadelphia Eagles. Recently, he even admitted that he would have taken Reid’s contract had it been offered to him. That says a lot about what the Chiefs had planned all along.
That alone may be enough to keep Mathieu from even thinking about coming back. But on the other hand, I have this theory that he probably expected to be offered much more money than he actually did in free agency. That can be a tough pill to swallow for any NFL player – your market value isn’t as great as you thought it would be.
If the Honey Badger was willing to take $10 million a year (the Justin Reid contract), it likely means that no team was willing to offer him more than that. And some probably even less. Mathieu is in a tough spot where he’s still playing at a relatively high level, but he is almost 30 years old, which may not be a problem this year but may cause concerns for teams thinking about giving him a long-term deal.
I would imagine that if Tyrann and the Chiefs were to come to an agreement to bring the safety back, it would look something like 1 year and less than $10 million. The Chiefs currently have some of the highest cap space in the league, so if they really wanted to they could shell out $7-8 million this year. Then again, they seem to be going younger in all areas, so maybe a reunion just isn’t in the cards for either party.