METAIRIE, La. — It’s not often a team makes its biggest splash of the offseason in May. But that’s exactly what theDid by With local icon and free-agent safety .
Mathieu officially reached an agreement on a three-year deal worth $33 million, including $18 million guaranteed, on Monday with the team, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
The Honey Badger is a New Orleans native and beloved former LSU star — who also happens to fill the Saints’ most glaring position of need following the draft.
This offseason was slow for the Saints despite their aggressive pursuit to find a quarterback. They actually showed a rare level spending restraint, even though they had spent about $75 million more than the salary cap in the offseason.
They suddenly realized that they had met their three greatest needs in five days by adding Mathieu to the team and drafting Ohio State receiverNorthern Iowa offensive tackle They were selected in Round 1. And in doing so, they have backed up their vow that they still consider themselves a top NFC contender under new coach Dennis Allen and didn’t plan to rebuild after Sean Payton stepped away in January.
Mathieu will be 30 years old on May 13th. However, the three-time All-Pro was still doing his best work in the past three seasons.— 13 of his 26 career interceptions over that period, plus one in the playoffs.
The 5-foot-9, 190-pounder has been one of the NFL’s most versatile and dynamic playmakers at the position throughout his nine-year career with the, Chiefs, with the ability of lining up at the free safety, strong security and nickel positions.
“If you’re looking for a safety who has probably the most multidimensional traits throughout his career, it’s Tyrann Mathieu,” said ESPN analyst and former NFL safety Matt Bowen, who added Mathieu can also line up with the slot and match up against tight ends. “And he has natural football instincts that, as a position coach, you can’t teach. And that’s why he’s consistently around the football — because he sees things so fast, and he is so smart as a veteran player to identify what down and distance, formation, personnel and game situation are telling you.
“Now, he didn’t make as many plays last year, he is getting older. But he still is a veteran player, who can vastly improve your defense because of the multiplicity that he brings.”
Bowen also correctly pointed out that Mathieu’s presence should be popular in the Saints' locker room (new teammates have already been voicing their enthusiasm on social media) and that his leadership should be invaluable for the rest of the secondary.
And while the Saints don’t exactly need to boost ticket sales because they already have a lengthy waiting list — this move should make tickets harder to come by on the secondary market this season. It won’t hurt to inject a bit of fan enthusiasm after the departures of Payton and quarterback Drew Brees, among others, in recent years.
ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky called Mathieu’s addition a “brilliant signing” on First Take.
“I believe they’re the third-best team in the conference — and this only adds to that,” Orlovsky said.
To be fair, Orlovsky’s opinion is more bullish than most, since the Saints still have a number of questions after they also lost outstanding left tackleStart safety precautions And This is the offseason. But it’s far from outlandish.
New Orleans finished 9-8 last season, barely missing the playoffs the first time since 2005, despite receiving major injuries.Winston dominated the offensive line for 10 games during the entire season.
With 58 starters in total, the Saints broke an NFL record due to COVID-19 and injuries. But they won the championship.Their defense was strong and they were the first team to be shut out in 15 years. With a 9-0 win in December.
Now, it could be argued that safety is as strong after New Orleans added the formerstarter March
The Saints also have one of the NFL’s best nickel safeties covering slot receivers in.
Mathieu, Maye and Williams played distinct roles as strong safety and free safety respectively.
“In a perfect-world scenario, you’d like to have the flexibility that they can both play back and both play down in the paint,” Allen said of the safety position earlier this offseason. “But that’s probably the exception to the rule rather than the rule.”
Bowen described the Mathieu/Maye pairing as “how theUse And .
“At times they can almost be position-less,” Bowen said. “From an old-school football perspective, Marcus Maye has the physical profile of a strong safety and Tyrann Mathieu has the physical profile of a slot/free safety. But I’m telling you right now, based off what Dennis Allen has done with this defense, when a quarterback comes to the line of scrimmage, you’re not gonna be able to tell who’s playing free and who’s playing strong. You’re gonna have to wait ‘til the late rotation to figure it out. And then [defensive end]’s in your lap.
“Mathieu has different traits than Marcus Williams (who was more of a deep center fielder) but is a more high-level playmaker than Marcus Williams. So let’s put him in position to make those plays.”