Houston Texans: Team will likely lose out on Tyrann Mathieu’s free agency

Houston Texans safety Tyrann Mathieu (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Houston Texans safety Tyrann Mathieu (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /

The Houston Texans are just days away from free agency and no deal has been made with safety Tyrann Mathieu. Here’s why they’re likely to lose out.

The Houston Texans will be entering the legal tampering period, which will start as I’m publishing this.  This will give the opportunity for the franchise to start negotiating with the representation of the free agents that they want to target when free agency opens up this Wednesday at 3 p.m. CDT, they’ll actually be able to start signing players to deals.

I fully expect the Houston Texans to be active on the free agency front this off season, just as much as they will be for the upcoming draft at the end of next month.

But one of their biggest free agents this off season — Tyrann Mathieu — still does not have an agreement in place with the Houston Texans.  Although contracts aren’t official until free agency opens up, there’s always leaks of “handshake” deals — so to speak — being made.

There has been no indication of that with the information that’s coming out of Kirby Drive.  It’s concerning because Mathieu’s value has increased because this season was considered a bounce-back and now the Houston Texans will have to get in line with likely lucrative offers that other teams are prepared to make.

Mathieu, who’s going into his seventh season in the NFL, signed a one-year deal with the Houston Texans for $7 million and he’s for certain to make more than that on a multi-year contract.

His leadership in the secondary was unmatched and was vocally coaching up his teammates to inspire them to do better.  He was also active in the community, getting his hands dirty with initiatives that he cared about the most.

According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Mathieu had a 75.1 overall grade, 83.9 run defense, 69.8 tackling, 67.1 pass rush and 70.6 in coverage through 1,114 snaps in 2018.  He was ranked 13th among safeties this past season that had at least 895 snaps to their credit.

However, there were times where he’d get burnt and it wasn’t pretty.  He struggled to cover the deep ball — which is important for his position as the last line of defense — because out of the 70 times he was targeted deep, quarterbacks had 112.4 rating, which is the second-lowest mark he’s ever had in the NFL.

Is Mathieu still worth re-signing? Absolutely — because his pros far outweigh his cons and the

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secondary would’ve been even worse than it already was had he not been present.

So it’s imperative the Houston Texans do what they can to re-sign him or they’ll have to risk either heading to free agency or the draft to replace him.  I don’t think they should open the coffers up for him but I think a fair deal is something Mathieu deserves.

However, the definition of fair is certainly in the eye of the beholder. 

The Houston Texans may have to look at trying to bring back Kareem Jackson –who played well at safety last season but had to play a lot of corner because of injuries — but there’s no indication that they have interest in the versatile defensive back as he passes the age 30-mark.

Landon Collins is among the cream of the crop of free agents along Adrian Amos.  But a better fit would certainly be Tre Boston and he may not cost as much as Mathieu or the aforementioned.  Even Tashaun Gipson would be a nice add to the mix as a replacement for Mathieu if he were to sign elsewhere.

Bar none — it won’t be the end of the world for the Texans if they don’t re-sign Mathieu.  With about $80 million to spend in cap money, they have more than enough to sign the guys they need.  My full faith and confidence is instilled in Brian Gaine that he’ll spend that money wisely.

I think we’re about the find out the answer in regard to Mathieu’s future with the team sooner than later and well before the legal tampering ends.

Next. Four unrestricted free agents the Texans must re-sign. dark

Mathieu, 26, amassed 89 combine tackles — 70 solo — along with 3.0 sacks, five tackles-for-loss, four QB hits, two interceptions, eight passes defended and one forced fumble through all 16 games last season.

For more grades, advanced statistics and more at Pro Football Focus, subscribe to PFF’s EDGE or ELITE subscriptions at ProFootballFocus.com.