Jan 24, 2021; Kansas City, MO, USA; Buffalo Bills wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie (19) runs between Kansas City Chiefs strong safety Tyrann Mathieu (32), defensive end Frank Clark (55) and free safety Daniel Sorensen (49) during the fourth quarter in the AFC Championship Game at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Chiefs S Tyrann Mathieu, DE Frank Clark return to practice

Safety Tyrann Mathieu is back at practice and should be in the lineup when the Kansas City Chiefs meet the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday night, coach Andy Reid said.

Reid said before practice Wednesday the Chiefs would have full participation and no injury concerns. That includes defensive end Frank Clark, who was inactive last week with a hamstring injury.

Mathieu was activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list and did not play in Kansas City’s Week 1 victory over the Cleveland Browns.

Mathieu wanted to return last week, but Reid cited conditioning as the primary reason he remained inactive.

In the final year of a three-year contract, Mathieu has said he hopes to work out a long-term deal before free agency arrives in March. Chiefs general manager Brett Veach has concurred.

–Field Level Media

Jan 17, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs strong safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) is introduced before an AFC Divisional Round playoff game against the Cleveland Browns at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Chiefs S Tyrann Mathieu remains out with COVID-19

Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu did not practice on Friday and his availability for Kansas City’s matchup with the Cleveland Browns on Sunday is up in the air.

Friday was the ninth day since Mathieu tested positive for COVID-19. He is participating in team and position meetings via Zoom.

Mathieu, 29, was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Sept. 1. He’s reportedly vaccinated, meaning to rejoin the team he would need two negative tests more than 24 hours apart and to be asymptomatic.

It’s unclear which of those prevented him from practicing this week.

The Chiefs are preparing to play without Mathieu on Sunday but holding out hope that he will be cleared.

“It’s up in the air and it’s a little bit challenging to game plan for,” Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said Thursday. “We’ve got Plan A and Plan B.”

Barring a roster move, Plan B would come from some combination of Daniel Sorensen, Juan Thornhill and Armani Watts at safety.

–Field Level Media

Aug 14, 2021; Santa Clara, California, USA; Kansas City Chiefs free safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) stands on the sideline during the third quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Chiefs S Tyrann Mathieu tests positive, hits COVID list

Kansas City Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday.

The Chiefs did not comment on the move, which was listed on the NFL’s official transaction report.

Mathieu was named All-Pro in each of his two seasons with the Chiefs and is in the final season of his existing contract. Mathieu and general manager Brett Veach have stated their commitment to working on a new deal, but that won’t likely happen before the start of the regular season on Sept. 12.

Veach said Wednesday nothing has changed in contract talks but the team is “committed to seeing that process through.”

Mathieu, 29, 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.

Mathieu said it would be hard to wear “any other uniform” after going to back-to-back Super Bowls with the Chiefs.

–Field Level Media

Aug 3, 2021; St. Joseph, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) talks with free safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) during training camp at Missouri Western State University. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

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

Jan 17, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs strong safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) warms up before the AFC Divisional Round playoff game against the Cleveland Browns at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Brady: Bucs must find Chiefs S Tyrann Mathieu before every play

Familiarity with the Kansas City Chiefs’ top defensive playmaker might be an asset the Tampa Bay Buccaneers can utilize on Sunday.

Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians pushed with two hands for the Arizona Cardinals to draft Tyrann Mathieu out of LSU in 2013. The diminutive cornerback was flagged by multiple teams because of off-field issues that included positive drug tests.

Mathieu made his mark on the Chiefs’ win at Tampa in Week 12 this season with an interception and five tackles.

“I saw him pregame warmups last time we played him. My favorite draft choice of all time,” Arians said Wednesday. “I just love him. His passion for football. I am so proud of the man that he has become. He’s a great football player, but he’s a better man.”

Mathieu was released by the Cardinals in 2017 when Arians retired, spent one year with the Houston Texans and then signed with the Chiefs. He smiled when asked about the reunion with Arians this weekend.

“Me and coach BA, we’ve had a great relationship,” Mathieu said. “Ever since my time in Arizona, and even beyond that, he’s always been somebody (whose) opinions and what he says meant a lot to me. You’ve got to remember, he was one of the first people in the National Football League that really believed in me and my abilities, and really allowed me to really flourish at a young age in this league. And he’s still been a guy that I keep in touch with to this day.”

Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady identified Mathieu as the player he must find and interpret his intentions prior to every snap in Super Bowl LV.

“Half of it is me being in awe of really just the art, it’s almost like poetry in motion,” Mathieu said. “The other half is me as a defender, like ‘How do I stop this? How do I prepare for this?’”

In past triumphs over Brady, Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has used back-end defenders to blitz on occasion but primarily used his back four to cover and front four to rush.

Brady, who threw three interceptions in the NFC Championship game, will be wary of Mathieu.

“I really love him as a player,” Brady said. “I think he’s got great ball-hawking ability. He seems like he’s always coming up with the biggest plays in the biggest moments.”

–Field Level Media