Tyrann Mathieu is highly sought-after since being cut from the Kansas City Chiefs. The Pittsburgh Steelers are keeping their options open for him.
Although Tyrann Mathieu was once the highest-paid safety in the NFL, a great deal has changed through the course of the NFL offseason. Mathieu, who was expected to land a costly franchise tag in order to remain with the Kansas City Chiefs, was instead replaced by former Houston Texans teammate Justin Reid. Mathieu remains a valuable free agent, and despite earning a $14 million salary last season, he admitted that he would have settled for Reid’s annual salary of $10.5 million. The Steelers have a limited amount of money remaining in cap space, and while they may have to offer Mathieu less money than he earned last season, perhaps he would be open to taking a pay cut the way he was with the Chiefs.
The Steelers are currently sitting at $13.2 million in cap space. In Mathieu’s most recent contract with the Chiefs, he was signed for three years at $42 million. He averaged about $14 million per year, which doesn’t include bonuses. If he signs with the Steelers, he’d be facing nearly a $1 million pay cut unless the Steelers can negotiate the salaries of their other players.
The Steelers have shown interest in signing Mathieu, but he may not want to sign with them. If Mathieu is presented with an offer, the decision will come down to whether he agrees with their assessment.
“The Steelers have an interest in signing Tyrann Mathieu, and they would have enough cap space to sign him to a two-year contract for what they believe he is worth. The issue is whether Mathieu agrees with the Steelers’ assessment about what he is worth.” -Bob Labriola, via Steelers.com
Can the Steelers make room to sign Tyrann Mathieu?
Although the Steelers were an early offseason favorite to sign Mathieu, the 29-year-old safety has been fielding offers from other NFL teams. The Los Angeles Rams, Philadelphia Eagles and New Orleans Saints have also reported interest in him, but according to ProFootballTalk, “reports have suggested that he’s not particularly close to signing with anyone.”
Mathieu expressed his devastation publicly when he was let go from the Chiefs, which could make it even more difficult for the Steelers to sign him with a lower contract.
“Bro, I was depressed. Heartbroken. Heart. Broken. To be honest, if they would’ve offered me Justin Reid’s deal, obviously I would’ve tried to negotiate, but if that’s where they drew their line in the sand, I probably would’ve took it. I probably would’ve took it. Agents are going to do their thing, but at the end of the day, it’s the player’s decision whether to sign it or not. Probably would’ve took it.” -Tyrann Mathieu, via Marca.com
This is likely a difficult transition for Mathieu, and it would make sense for him to chase a higher contract when starting with a brand new team. Although he has yet to sign to a team, Mathieu remains a highly vaunted talent in the NFL and is expected to sign a competitive offer indicative of his value.