Released safety Tyrann “The Honey Badger” Mathieu would be a perfect fit with the Patriots, who are in desperate need of an upgrade in the secondary.
Even before Mathieu was released by Arizona Wednesday, there were rumblings that Mathieu could find his way to New England.
“The Eagles exposed the Patriots’ two biggest flaws in Super Bowl LII: Lack of a consistent pass rush and a secondary in desperate need of playmakers,” wrote CBS Sports Ryan Wilson. “New England tried to trade for Michael Bennett but were late to the party, but you can expect them to restock the roster at defensive back in the coming weeks and months. Yes, the team is happy with Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung and Duron Harmon, but again (say it with us), you can never have too many playmakers in the secondary. Plus, Mathieu is versatile enough to play cornerback, safety, and even inside linebacker in the subpackages. If he ends up in New England, Bill Belichick will undoubtedly find a way to maximize his talents.”
Mathieu is also a talented return man, and the Pats just lost out their top kick and punt returners from this past season (Dion Lewis, Danny Amendola). Mathieu has only two kick return attempts in his NFL career, but this is a taste of what he was doing as a return man at LSU.
There are several reasons why this marriage likely won’t take shape, however, beginning with the most obvious one: money. Many teams - including the Texans, Giants, Jets and Steelers are rumored to be hot after Mathieu’s services and the Pats would likely have to win a bidding war to land him. And as anyone who has followed Bill Belichick’s Patriots in the past 17 years knows – the Patriots don’t engage in bidding wars too often.
Mathieu may have already rubbed Belichick the wrong way, too, considering this tweet from last year.
NE should have played Mike Floyd. They have no deep threats... ATL LBs too good. They aren't any mis matches— Tyrann Mathieu (@Mathieu_Era) February 6, 2017