Is Tyrann Mathieu a realistic option to fill the gaping hole in the back end of the Detroit Lions’ secondary?
There’s no question the Detroit Lions will seek some help at safety this offseason. Tracy Walker and Dean Marlowe are set to hit the open market this March. Walker had a nice bounceback/breakthrough season in 2021.
While Walker is certainly a candidate for the Lions to re-sign, general manager Brad Holmes will likely make at least one addition at safety. In naming one free agent each NFL team should prioritize this offseason, Jordan Dajani of CBSSports.com paired the Lions with Tyrann Mathieu.
"Mathieu brings the kind of toughness, leadership and experience that Dan Campbell wants in this subpar secondary. This seems like the kind of player Campbell would tell the front office to throw money at. Detroit should at least throw its hat in the ring because of the leader he is."
Would the Lions actually sign Tyrann Mathieu? Would Mathieu want to come to Detroit?
As Lions fans will recall, last year’s free agent strategy involved signing overlooked players that hadn’t had much chance to showcase their full potential where they came from. That meant a lot of one-year deals, with few exceptions.
Mathieu would certainly seem to fit the type of player the Lions are looking for, and bringing in a player of his caliber and reputation would be a huge get. But a projected market value of $14.8 million per year (via Spotrac) looks pretty rich for the Lions.
There’s also the reverse question of whether Mathieu would want to come to Detroit. Do the Lions really present a more enticing situation than say, re-signing with Kansas City–a team that will be in Super Bowl contention again–or another contending team?
Money does talk. But entering his 10th season, with career earnings of $73 million, Mathieu is past the point of chasing a paycheck. It’s about getting a second ring as his career winds down.
Envisioning “The Honey Badger” flying around the secondary in Honolulu Blue next season is a fun fantasy. But come March, a fantasy is certainly what it will remain. There are cheaper, younger options out there, in free agency as well as the draft, and Mathieu will want to land somewhere he can win at a high level next season.