The New Orleans Saints recently signed free agent safety Tyrann Mathieu and that deal was originally reported as being three-years, $33 million with $18 million guaranteed. As it turns out, $33 million is the max value of the deal and the base value is $27 million.
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk passed along the details of Mathieu’s new deal with the Saints on Tuesday, and it shows that $6 million of it, $2 million max per season, is tied to incentives.
Mathieu received a $9.5 million signing bonus as part of his three-year contract with the Saints to go along with a guaranteed base salary in 2022 of $1.5 million. In short, Mathieu gets $11 million for 2022. His 2023 base salary of $7 million is also fully guaranteed so that means he has $18 million coming to him the next two seasons. As for 2024, Mathieu is scheduled to earn $7.5 million that season on top of a March roster bonus of $1.5 million, which essentially is an option bonus.
The Saints included two voidable years at the end of the deal to help lower Mathieu’s cap charges. If we want to get technical, this is a two-year deal worth $18 million that can be worth up to $22 million. The 2023 is basically an option year and it will be surprising if Mathieu plays out that year.
Below are the incentive triggers included in Mathieu’s deal, according to Florio.
The incentive triggers are: (1) $500,000 for participating in 80 percent of the defensive snaps with a playoff win or first-round bye; (2) $500,000 for participating in 80 percent of the defensive snaps with two playoff wins; (3) $500,000 for participating in 80 percent of the defensive snaps with three playoff wins; and (4) $500,000 if named first- or second-team All-Pro.
Thanks to the added voidable years, Mathieu’s 2022 salary cap charge is just $3.4 million.
As I stated right from the start, I’m willing to bet if the Pittsburgh Steelers did have serious interest in Mathieu, it would have been for $8 million a season and for two years. Basically, the deal that they gave new inside linebacker Myles Jack several weeks ago.
That two-year, $16 million contract that Jack signed included a signing bonus of $6.5 million, the only guaranteed money in the deal. Jack also got an unguaranteed 2022 base salary of $1.5 million so he’s set to earn $8 million in 2022 and another $8 million in 2023 if he sticks. His cap charge for 2022 is $4.75 million, which is $1.35 million more than Mathieu’s is.
There’s no way that the Steelers were going to give Mathieu $18 million fully guaranteed and no way they were going to offer him another $2 million per year in incentives. That’s not how they do things with non-quarterbacks under general manager Kevin Colbert.