Green Bay Packers

Tyrann Mathieu Is the Perfect Target If the Packers Want To Invest In the Defense

Photo Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Safety is a more significant need for the Green Bay Packers than you might think. Defensive coordinator Joe Barry uses three safeties at a high rate. According to Info Sports Solutions, the Packers use the sixth-most dime packages or formations with six defensive backs on the field. Furthermore, starters Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage are in the last year of their deals. Therefore, it is essential to address the position for the short- and long-term.

Moreover, the Packers historically are willing to invest in the position. General manager Brian Gutekunst traded up in the first round to draft Savage and signed Amos in free agency during the same offseason.

But there are other priorities that demand higher draft capital, such as wide receiver and edge defender. Receiver, because the need is obvious. And edge because it’s hard to find great contributors later in the draft. So maybe Gutekunst should address the safety issue without using draft capital.

According to PFF cap analyst Brad Spielberger, veteran Tyrann Mathieu should command a three-year, $30 million contract. The former Arizona Cardinals, Houston Texans, and Kansas City Chiefs safety has recently visited the New Orleans Saints and the Philadelphia Eagles but has yet to sign any deal. And, for a $10 million average per year, it might be a smart move by the Packers to ink him.

“Theoretically, any team could be a fit for Mathieu given his unrivaled versatility on the back end,” wrote Spielberger. “Since joining Kansas City in 2019, he has played over 600 snaps in deep, box, and slot alignments, and he rarely comes off the field, averaging over 1,000 snaps per regular season since 2017.”

If that’s the case, a backloaded contract with the Packers would look like this:

Three years (plus two void years), $30 million
$13 million signing bonus
Guarantees: Signing bonus + 2022 base salary + 2023 roster bonus

2022

Base salary: $1.1 million
Prorated signing bonus: $2.6 million
Cap hit: $3.7 million

2023

Base salary: $1.2 million
Roster bonus: $5.8 million (guaranteed)
Prorated signing bonus: $2.6 million
Cap hit: $9.6 million

2024

Base salary: $8.9 million
Prorated signing bonus: $2.6 million
Cap hit: $11.5 million

2025

Dead money: $5.2 million

Mathieu is 29 years old and could still offer three years of good production. He also has championship experience and was a big part of Kansas City’s success in the last three years.

A four-time All-Pro, the Honey Badger excels as the dime safety, playing in the box. But he also has the versatility to play deep and even cover the slot, something important for the Packers after Chandon Sullivan left to join the Minnesota Vikings.

It wouldn’t be a cheap investment, but the Packers would add a potentially great player, the cost is not prohibitive, and the team would get more flexibility moving forward. That would help facilitate their plans regarding Amos and Savage’s negotiations. And more importantly, the Packers would free up one more need before the draft, leaving the capital intact to address more pressing needs and positions that demand bigger investments.

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