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Tyrann Mathieu to Leave Chiefs After Never Being Offered New Contract

Mathieu's departure comes after one of the team's greatest runs in franchise history.

After a long offseason of uncertainty, the Kansas City Chiefs have officially lost one of their most vocal and vital defenders from the team's modern era, as All-Pro safety Tyrann Mathieu will formally depart Kansas City after three seasons with the Chiefs.

After the first several waves of free agency and the completion of the 2022 NFL Draft, Mathieu is reportedly signing with the New Orleans Saints, marking the end of his time in Kansas City. However, it was the Chiefs who reportedly first walked away from Mathieu. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network initially reported the news of Mathieu's anticipated signing. 

The Saints are making a key post-draft addition, as they’re expected to sign All-Pro safety Tyrann Mathieu, sources say. A long-awaited signing that should be finalized in the coming days, the Honey Badger lands in a perfect spot.
- Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) 8:17 AM, Monday, May 2, 2022

Jan 19, 2020; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs strong safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) celebrates with the Lamar Hunt Trophy after beating the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Championship Game at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

After the Chiefs agreed to terms with former Houston Texans safety Justin Reid early in free agency, Kimberly A. Martin of ESPN first reported that the Chiefs never made a contract offer to Mathieu before signing his effective replacement.

"KC never offered Tyrann Mathieu a deal," Martin tweeted. "Chiefs' plan was to go in a different direction and they were willing to let him walk."

In an interview with Sam McDowell of The Kansas City Star in early April, Mathieu confirmed that the Chiefs were the ones to end the relationship, even as he considered that he likely would have accepted the three-year, $31.5 million contract the Chiefs offered to the 25-year-old Reid.

“To be honest,” Mathieu says, “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."

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Feb 5, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Kansas City Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu celebrates during AFC practice at the Las Vegas Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

While Mathieu's departure was all but a foregone conclusion after signing Reid, the Chiefs continued to signal that a reunion wasn't in the cards when they drafted former Cincinnatti safety Bryan Cook with the No. 62 overall pick and former Marshall safety Nazeeh Johnson with the No. 259 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.

The Chiefs' first pick in the draft, former Washington cornerback Trent McDuffie, called himself "almost a Tyrann Mathieu type of guy" in his introductory press conference after being drafted No. 21 overall.

Dec 31, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Cincinnati Bearcats safety Bryan Cook (6) celebrates an interception in the third quarter against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the 2021 Cotton Bowl college football CFP national semifinal game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

In his three years with the Chiefs, Kansas City went to three consecutive AFC Championship Games and two Super Bowls, winning one. While the Chiefs' defense was never KC's calling card, Mathieu was widely credited as the Chiefs' defensive leader, both on and off the field.

Mathieu recorded 213 tackles and 13 interceptions in his three regular seasons with the Chiefs and 40 tackles and one interception in KC's nine postseason games.

Jan 12, 2020; Kansas City, MO, USA; Houston Texans safety Justin Reid (20) celebrates against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first quarter in a AFC Divisional Round playoff football game at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

In an interview on NFL Network at NFL Honors ahead of Super Bowl LVI, Mathieu said he hoped to remain with the Chiefs.

“Yeah, I’m blessed, man. I feel great,” Mathieu said. “Obviously, the hope and the dream is to continue to be a Kansas City Chief. We’ve created so much history the last couple of years. I want to be in Kansas City and I think everybody knows that.”

Feb 10, 2022; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Tyrann Mathieu appears on the red carpet prior to the NFL Honors awards presentation at YouTube Theater. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Following the 2021 season, Mathieu was named the Chiefs' Derrick Thomas MVP award, given to the Chiefs' most valuable player annually.

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