Tyrann Mathieu is still lurking around the free-agent market in search of a new home somewhere in the NFL. On Tuesday, the veteran safety visited with the New Orleans Saints, which happens to be his hometown team. Not only is Mathieu from the area, but he also played his college ball at LSU, where he was named SEC Defensive Player of the Year back in 2011, so this possible pairing could be quite the homecoming for the three-time Pro Bowler.
“First and foremost, it’s a great opportunity with Dennis Allen stepping into the lead position,” Mathieu told reporters of his visit with the Saints, via Wilson Alexander of the Advocate. “He’s a great defensive mind. I have a lot of respect for Mrs. (Gayle) Benson and the kind of things she does throughout the community. It’s a team I grew up watching. Any time I get to play in front of family and friends, it obviously gives me more energy. It would be a great opportunity if that was to come.”
This was Mathieu’s first official visit of this free agency cycle. Unlike the previous two instances where he hit the open market, he’s now simply looking for a place that gives him a chance to win rather than trying to break the bank.
“I have a great relationship with Cam Jordan, Marshon Lattimore,” he said. “The list goes on and on. Any time I see the Saints play defense, I always tap myself on the shoulder and say, ‘Hey, I could probably roll with those guys.’ Those guys have done a great thing. The last couple years, they’ve been like top-five in defense. I don’t think they really need me, but it would be good to go back home and help them win.”
New Orleans did lose safety Marcus Williams to the Ravens in free agency this offseason and also saw Malcolm Jenkins retire. However, the club signed Marcus Maye in free agency along with Daniel Sorensen, so the crowded safety room — that also includes Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Justin Evans, and J.T. Gray — could be why Mathieu believes the Saints may not necessarily need his services. Still injecting a playmaker like him would certainly be a luxury, thanks to his versatility to play all across the field.
Last season, Mathieu started in all 16 regular-season games he suited up for with the Chiefs. He totaled 76 tackles, broke up six passes, and had three interceptions to his name to go along with three fumble recoveries.