The Baltimore Ravens are coming off a down year by their standards. John Harbaugh and company have a bad taste in their mouths and will be looking to get back on track in 2022. The front office must make some smart money moves in the offseason to do that. If they’re going to spend money on a free agent, Kansas City Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu should be at the top of the list.
The All-Pro could significantly impact the Ravens’ Super Bowl hopes.
Tyrann Mathieu becomes a free agent in the offseason
The Kansas City Chiefs will have some big roster decisions to make in the offseason. Tyrann Mathieu is one of the biggest names on the docket for Andy Reid’s squad this time around.
Mathieu has spent the last three seasons in Kansas City, after five seasons with the Arizona Cardinals and a brief stint with the Houston Texans.
Honey Badger has recorded 213 tackles, 27 passes defended, and 13 interceptions in three seasons with the Chiefs.
The LSU product will become an unrestricted free agent in the offseason. The Chiefs’ free-agent class also features defensive end Melvin Ingram, offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr., and cornerback Charvarius Ward. Kansas City currently has $5.1 million in cap space, so the front office must be shrewd with whoever it decides to keep.
According to Pro Football Talk, Mathieu wants to return to Kansas City, and the feeling is mutual. Still, if the financial aspect doesn’t align, the three-time Pro Bowl could seek a contract elsewhere.
If that’s the case, the Baltimore Ravens could be a sneaky team to watch out for in the Honey Badger sweepstakes.
Why the Ravens should prioritize the Chiefs safety in NFL free agency
Like the Chiefs, the Ravens enter the 2022 offseason with several questions needing answers. There’s a long list of unrestricted free agents, including defensive linemen Calais Campbell and Brandon Williams and fullback Patrick Ricard.
Baltimore will also have some tough decisions to make in the secondary. Cornerbacks Anthony Averett and Jimmy Smith and safety DeShon Elliott will be hitting the free-agent market. The latter was having an impressive season before suffering a season-ending biceps injury.
Elliott’s injury may have lowered his value a bit. Still, it wouldn’t be surprising to see another team offer him a nice chunk of change in free agency. The Ravens would certainly miss his swagger and physical playing style. However, pursuing Tyrann Mathieu would make up for Elliott’s loss and then some.
Baltimore’s secondary struggled throughout the 2021 season. Former defensive coordinator Wink Martindale began the season without Pro Bowl cornerback Marcus Peters. He later lost Marlon Humphrey in Week 13. The Ravens finished dead last in pass defense, allowing 278.9 passing yards per game to opposing offenses.
Mathieu could immediately step in and improve the defense. Honey Badger has always been a playmaker, dating back to his time with the LSU Tigers. The unit has some SEC ties with Humphrey and linebacker Patrick Queen, who’s already subtly recruiting Mathieu.
Honey Badger’s presence would instantly boost Baltimore’s Super Bowl chances
John Harbaugh’s squad finished with an 8-9 record in 2021. It was a disappointing season, and injuries played a significant role in the team’s struggles.
Adding Tyrann Mathieu to the fold would be a massive get for the Baltimore Ravens.
The 29-year-old New Orleans, Louisiana native would provide another veteran presence in the locker room. He’s been in the league for nine seasons and played in plenty of big games, particularly with the Chiefs. The Ravens have the pieces to contend when healthy. Mathieu’s meaningful game experience could go a long way down the stretch.
Newly-hired defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald will look to transform Baltimore’s defense. Stealing the Honey Badger away from an AFC rival would be a significant step toward accomplishing that goal.
The Ravens underachieved in 2021, but they’ll have Super Bowl aspirations again in 2022. Both sides of the ball must play better for those dreams to come true, but the defense needs more game-changers. Tyrann Mathieu fits the bill perfectly.
If Eric DeCosta makes it work financially, the two sides could be a match made in heaven.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference