Signing Mathieu this offseason felt both plausible and implausible, the kind of acquisition that could very realistically happen for many reasons but could also not happen for just as many.
Well, it happened, and Saints fans have every reason to jump in the air after a pretty average draft weekend. Considering how much the franchise gave up for first-rounder Chris Olave, the draft may not have been as successful as many thought it would be.
After Malcolm Jenkins announced his retirement and Marcus Williams walked out in free agency, the Saints’ greatest strength from last season suddenly turned into a position of need and continued to be a need following the draft.
Now, just like that, the Saints once again boast one of the greatest pass defenses in the league.
A slow offseason saw the Saints pick up young safety Marcus Maye, but Maye’s injury history has to be at least a little concerning to the team. Besides, Dennis Allen has reportedly said Maye will play more strong safety, allowing Mathieu to maximize his versatility and efficiency at the free safety position.
New Orleans Saints have biggest reason to smile after acquiring Tyrann Mathieu
While the Saints haven’t exactly twiddled their thumbs this year, we wouldn’t call re-signing Jameis Winston or picking up Taco Charlton “splashy” moves. Other than throwing their hat in the ring for Deshaun Watson, NOLA’s offseason crept by slowly as the team made a series of perfectly reasonable, run-of-the-mill additions to the roster.
There’s nothing wrong with that, but Saints fans were also wishing for just a little more — a bit of magic, a tinge of unexpected joy, a much-too-early Christmas present that came in the form of one incredible defensive playmaker.
The lone red flag may be how quickly the Chiefs dumped Mathieu at the curb, but the safety’s special connection to New Orleans along with his illustrious resume make him a bonafide home-run signing.
Mathieu, a First-Team All-Pro in 2019 and 2020, carries a bounty of tangibles and intangibles that bode well for his individual success and that of a consistently elite Saints’ defense. Heading into his 10th year in the league, Mathieu has recorded 13 picks in the last three seasons (tied fifth in the NFL), can play in the box as well as the slot, and hasn’t missed a game due to injury since the 2016 season.
His wealth of playoff experience isn’t lost on the Saints, either. NOLA missed the postseason in 2021 and has every intention of making a deep run this year.
The Mathieu signing doesn’t just help the Saints reach this goal — it guarantees it.
The Jarvis Landry dream is still stuck in the pipeline, but the Tyrann Mathieu one has come true. Welcome to NOLA.