The Kansas City Chiefs have yet to finalize an extension for the star safety, and while a deal could still be struck by the time free agency rolls around, Mathieu may start cautiously putting out feelers for a new home.
The ninth-year pro is set to be a free agent in 2022 and is coming off his second consecutive Pro Bowl season. In 2021, Mathieu started in all 16 games and recorded 76 combined tackles, three interceptions, six passes defended, and one sack.
As one of the most reliable members of the Chiefs' defensive backfield, Mathieu would easily rank as the best and most versatile defender on the Jets. How plausible is it to see him draped in green and white next season?
NFL.com's Marc Sessler listed one potential free agent fit for every team in 2022 and had Mathieu heading to New York.
"Perhaps the landing spot would scare off Mathieu, but the Jets also represent a brilliant opportunity. The Honey Badger would be given the chance to lead a Robert Saleh-designed defense that regularly milked the most out of players in San Francisco."- Marc Sessler
NY Jets should consider signing Tyrann Mathieu in 2022
With Marcus Maye likely on his way out, Sessler believes Mathieu could quickly turn into an instant "locker-room favorite" on the Jets, thriving under the tutelage of Robert Saleh and Jeff Ulbrich.
New York currently only has young and developmental safeties (Jason Pinnock, Elijah Riley) on their roster, and one of their top priorities will be to find a starting-caliber safety for 2022.
Saints' Marcus Williams presents one high-profile option; Tyrann Mathieu presents another. Both players' contracts would cost the Jets roughly the same — around $15 million a year — which is easily absorbable in the Jets' $40 million worth of available cap.
Year after year, the Jets have served as a top free agent destination by recruiting players with money and money alone. It's how elite pass-rusher Carl Lawson ended up there in 2021, and it's how New York can continue reeling in talented stars like Mathieu.
If it's the green stuff Mathieu is after and not another Lombardi Trophy, the Jets should be prepared to offer an arm and leg for his services.
While Mathieu won't serve as a long-term solution in the secondary, he can at least help the Jets build up their reputation this upcoming season.