Chiefs GM: Want Mathieu deal, but money tight

  • Covered Chiefs for 20 seasons for Kansas City Star
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ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — Tyrann Mathieu might be the next safety in line for a big contract, but he might have to wait. General manager Brett Veach said that while the Kansas City Chiefs would like to extend Mathieu’s contract beyond its end this season, the timing isn’t right for it to happen soon.

“The landscape is super tricky,” Veach said from Chiefs training camp at Missouri Western State University. “We’re at a $30 million [salary-cap] deficit from what we thought, and next year it’s $15 million. Right now some things are out of our control just because of the cap reductions this year and next year. If you look at our books for next year, we’re going to be over by a bunch.

“Right now we’re counting Orlando [Brown] on a [franchise] tag, but we think he’s going to play well, and we’re going to extend him, and that opens up space. Restructuring [with other players] opens up space. Some guys moving on will open up space.

“It’s frustrating because we’re handicapped a little, and there are only certain things we can do to make it make sense for him. But where we are now is going to be completely different than where we will be once the season ends, and we have a lot more clarity on contracts and how the money is disbursed and allocated and how we can fit things and how we can make it work. It’s just tricky right now. But it has nothing to do with us not wanting him or him not wanting to be here. It’s just one of those unfortunate timing things.”

The Chiefs are scheduled to have four players in 2022 with salary-cap figures of at least $20 million, led by quarterback Patrick Mahomes at almost $36 million.

Mathieu, who is in Year 3 of a three-year, $42 million contract, has said he wants to finish his career with the Chiefs. When the Chiefs opened training camp last month, Mathieu said he wasn’t disappointed the Chiefs had yet to extend his contract.

“I think most players would like to have things done before they get to the season, but I’m all about ball,” he said. “I love ball, so it’s important for me to stay focused on that. Let other things just handle themselves.”

Some of his recent activity on his Twitter account, though, might reflect some frustration. After the Seattle Seahawks gave safety Jamal Adams a new four-year contract worth $70 million, Mathieu wrote “the disrespect is noted” in response to a tweet wondering how Adams’ extension might impact Mathieu.

But the Chiefs say they want to keep Mathieu beyond this season.

“I’ve heard Tyrann say that he would like to extend his career in Kansas City, and we feel the same way about that,” Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt said. “Hopefully that will work out. The timing is obviously uncertain.”

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