Sources tell myself & @ShaadMcGinnis of @TheBlue_Stable that a big name FA to watch for the #Colts is Tyrann Mathieu! There’s been plenty of mutual interest this FA cycle but the QB domino needed to fall before the conversations could heat up!— Destin Adams (@TheDestinAdams) March 21, 2022
Originally a 2013 3rd round pick of the Arizona Cardinals out of LSU, the ‘Honey Badger’ is an NFL defensive back who really needs no other introduction—as a Super Bowl Champion, 3x NFL All-Pro, and 3x NFL Pro Bowler, and at a listed 5’9”, 190 pounds, notoriously known for playing much bigger than his size with such fearlessness and tenacity.
The 9-year veteran safety is coming off a season for the Chiefs in which he recorded 76 tackles (60 solo), 2 tackles for loss, 3 interceptions (1 returned for a touchdown), 6 passes defensed, a sack, and 3 fumble recoveries during all 17 starts in 2021.
Per PFF (subscription), Mathieu was their 38th best graded safety with a +67.4 overall grade—including a +75.7 pass coverage grade.
Known for his tremendous defensive versatility, Mathieu is the modern hybrid safety/nickel linebacker prototype, who can run, cover, and blitz from within the box or outside—as well as even defend the slot. He also has the unique ability to generate takeaways, with 9 total interceptions combined over the past two seasons.
Mathieu would give new Colts defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, a ‘can do it all’, interchangeable defensive back to help anchor the backend of his secondary—even with starters Julian Blackmon and Khari Willis already in the fold. It would also allow for some added creativity and ‘wrinkles’ by being able to deploy Mathieu in different roles/looks, making the Colts a little less predictable and harder to gameplan against for opposing offenses.
Don’t forget Bradley once had dynamic, future NFL Hall of Fame safety Earl Thomas in his Seattle Seahawks defenses too, so the need for another playmaker on the backend can’t be overlooked—or at least might make his ‘wish list’.
Not only would Mathieu add a ‘jack-knife’ to the back of the Colts secondary with his overall versatility, but he also would be an absolute ‘DAWG’ in this defense—adding to a standout unit that already contains Darius Leonard and Kenny Moore in such constant ‘playing with a chip on their shoulders with something to prove’ capacities.
Considered the catalyst of the Chiefs’ recent defenses, the 29 year old safety would add another veteran leader to the Colts locker room and another fun personality.
Given some of the Colts’ arguably bigger holes at other critical positions such as wide receiver, tight end, cornerback, and left tackle, Mathieu could be considered more of a luxury signing at this juncture—but boy, would it still be highly impactful for a Colts defense looking to take another step into becoming a truly elite unit under Bradley.