After years on the backend of the Chiefs defense, Tyrann Mathieu is now a free agent. Could he jump to the dark side to help the Raiders?
Back in 2019, the Kansas City Chiefs were looking to add some talent to the back end of their secondary. Fresh off a one-year stint in Houston where he had two interceptions and three sacks, Matheu was certainly their player of choice. Over the next three seasons in Kansas City, he was either an All-Pro or a Pro Bowl selection.
More importantly, he was the face of a Chiefs defense that played in back-to-back Super Bowls and won one of them.
For the Raiders, safety has long been a revolving door. While players like Karl Joseph and Lamarcus Joyner got their chances, it hasn’t quite worked out. In 2021 however, the Raiders got fantastic play from rookie free safety Trevon Moehrig.
A second-round pick, he was a revelation on the back end and one of the best rookies in the NFL. So why then are the Raiders looking to add a safety?
Well, the Raiders added a safety of their own in 2019. While the Chiefs added a star in Mathieu, Las Vegas drafted Johnathan Abram in the first round. After missing nearly all of his rookie season, Abram has severely struggled in pass coverage.
He finished 2021 with a PFF grade of 56.9. Certainly a much better fit as a box safety, he is a non-factor in pass coverage and is a penalty waiting to happen due to his reckless playstyle. These are two things the Raiders cannot afford if they wish to contend in 2022.
Tyrann Mathieu would be a perfect for the Raiders’ defense
How he fits
The beauty of Mathieu’s game is that he fits anywhere in any scheme. Need him to play single high? He can do it. In the box? Certainly. Slot corner? He’s elite at it. With new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham now calling the shots, he would be in good hands. After several seasons using Jabrill Peppers as a chess piece type player, he would be likely to use Mathieu in the same way.
Not only is Mathieu versatile but he is highly experienced. With nine years of NFL experience, there is very little that he has not seen in his time in the NFL. In theory, he can pass this knowledge on to the Raiders’ younger defensive backs such as Moehrig and Nate Hobbs. Perhaps even more valuable would be his knowledge of the Kansas City Chiefs. The Raiders’ nemesis over the past several seasons, he likely can provide insight into how they do things on both sides of the ball.
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Above all, Mathieu would give the Raiders defense an identity. A payer who plays with attitude and confidence but can easily back it up, he could take the Las Vegas defense from good to great. As the landscape in the AFC continues to become more treacherous, the Raiders will have to continue to make big moves. Adding a player with Mathieu’s pedigree certainly qualifies as such.