Tyrann Mathieu: Fourth Time Through Free Agency ‘Not About Being The Highest-Paid Safety’

It was reported some time ago now that the Pittsburgh Steelers had narrowed down their interest to three safeties out in the free-agent market, one of them being their own fifth-year veteran Terrell Edmunds. The other safety that caught Steelers fans’ eyes at the time, but on whom they’ve since cooled, is veteran Pro Bowler Tyrann Mathieu.

The Kansas City Chiefs opted to get younger at safety with Mathieu set to turn 30, signing Justin Reid of the Houston Texans to take over at the back end. That has put the LSU veteran on the free agency market for the third time in his nine-year career, looking for team number four to start year number 10.

Mathieu is back in Louisiana, having just had a lengthy meeting with the New Orleans Saints, and during his time down there he spoke with Wilson Alexander for The Advocate about his process, and what his priorities are heading into age 30.

This is my third time in free agency, unfortunately. This time around, it’s not about being the highest-paid safety”, he said. “It’s not about breaking news or anything like that. I want my family to be comfortable. I think I’ve worked hard enough and long enough in this league to be able to have that. I want to play for a team that has a chance to win a championship, but outside of that, I want my kids and my family to be happy and be safe”.

Previously, Mathieu did specifically talk about the Steelers’ interest in him, and mentioned how cool it was to get a phone call from head coach Mike Tomlin telling him that he would like him to line up in his defense. I would imagine that, to some extent, there is mutual interest.

LSU’s Pro Day is today. Mathieu has been down there at his alma mater all week, so surely he’s going to be at the Pro Day. And you know the Steelers are going to be heavily represented there. Especially if they know that Mathieu is going to be there. Maybe they’ll even be talking contracts while scouting the next generation.

On his connection with the Saints, he did say that “Any time I see the Saints play defense, I always tap myself on the shoulder and say, ‘Hey, I could probably roll with those guys.’”. He added, “I don’t think they really need me, but it would be good to go back home and help them win”.

New Orleans also has a serious cap issue that they would have to get creative with if they wanted to sign Mathieu, potentially even using void years, something the Steelers have been able to move away from this year after using them in 2021.

Still, it didn’t sound as though anything was imminent. That’s his home down there, and I’m sure he would welcome the opportunity to finish his career with the Saints if the stars aligned. But maybe the Steelers can offer him a better deal, and a better coaching and family environment. We should learn pretty soon one way or another.

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