S Tyrann Mathieu, Chiefs keenly aware of new market value
One chief concern in Kansas City entering the 2021 season is the contract status of safety Tyrann Mathieu. Keeping him became slightly more complicated on Tuesday.
Mathieu, 29, is entering the final season of a three-year contract he signed as a free agent. He will make $14.55 million in 2021.
That’s well below the new bar for players at the position after Jamal Adams signed a four-year, $70 million extension with the Seattle Seahawks to become the NFL’s top-paid safety. He makes an average of $17.5 million per season under the terms of the contract inked Tuesday.
Mathieu said it would be hard to wear “any other uniform” after going to back-to-back Super Bowls with the Chiefs.
“The fans here are amazing. My teammates are amazing. I spoke about the relationships that I have with my coaches,” Mathieu said in the spring. “Some of these things, you can’t buy other places. I’m a guy that’s had to start over quite often, so I would like to stay here — for sure.”
The Chiefs have multiple sizable salaries on the ledger for 2022, and general manager Brett Veach tends to ramp up negotiations closer to the end of an existing contract. He’s also no stranger to the franchise tag.
“We’ve had a chance to talk to Tyrann and his representation, and I think it’s a little bit difficult with the landscape right now of having two cap-shortened offseason and where we are in regards to our offseason projections,” Veach said in an interview with Sirius/XM Radio. “But as we’ve discussed with Tyrann and his crew, it’s one of those situations that where we are now will certainly not be where we are once the season ends, and once we correct some of the things when you have extensions, conversations, trades, (players) move on — every team is certainly in a different position (with) what their books say than (what) they will be in the offseason.
“And we like to think that we’re going to find a way to get this done. And he knows we love him, and we know he wants to be here. And right now, for him, and for us, I think it’s just a timing thing. But there’s not a guy in this league I respect as much as him for the way he goes about his business. And, you know, listen, a lot of these guys, and a lot of these teams — I think we saw the franchise tag period come and go, and no one got done. And there have been a couple of deals, but a lot of these bigger deals haven’t been done for the same reason. Different players handle it in a different way. And just like you’d expect from Tyrann, just complete class. I mean, the guy is special. We love him. And we’re certainly going to work our tail off to keep him here.”
The combined salary cap figures for the Chiefs’ five highest-paid players in 2022 based on existing contracts totals $130 million, with quarterback Patrick Mahomes at $35.8 million.
Defensive linemen Chris Jones ($29.4 million) and Frank Clark ($26.3 million) are next with wide receiver Tyreek Hill ($20.7 million) and offensive guard Joe Thuney ($17.8 million) ahead of Mathieu’s projected annual salary of $17.5 million.
–Field Level Media