Would A Giant Tyrann Mathieu Contract Affect The Bucs’ Decisions At Cornerback?

February 24th, 2019

For those dozing on the rest of the NFL, Panthers safety Eric Reid signed a one-year, prove-it deal before last season and just renewed with a three-year contract worth more than $7 million per season.

Bucco Bruce Arians’ favorite safety, Tyrann Mathieu, will get at least that much in two short weeks.

And it sure seems like Mathieu and the Bucs are destined for each other based on the Honey Badger’s own recent Twittering.

Don’t think Mathieu will command that kind of money? Consider he is 26 years old, about six months younger than Reid, and he hasn’t missed a game in two seasons while Reid has missed six. Mathieu also earned $7 million last season and played well for the Texans.

It might cost the Bucs $8 million per year and two full years of guaranteed cash to get their man. The Bucs haven’t paid that much for a safety since they opened the Team Glazer vault for Dashon Goldson at that price in 2013. (Another only-the-Bucs moment, signing head-hunting Goldson as the league moved to stop head-hunting. Brilliant!!)

So if the Bucs sign Mathieu when the free agency dinner bell rings in 17 short days, would that make them more likely to draft a cornerback with a premium pick in April?

Joe figures if the Bucs are going big money at safety, then they’ll want to keep costs down at corner, especially with the apparent return of Gerald McCoy ($13 million salary) and Jason Pierre Paul ($14.7 million). Yeah, they still need a veteran corner but there’s no way Joe can see them paying a ton in free agency with Mathieu on the pirate ship. Also looming is the Vernon Hargreaves question. If he plays well this season, then the Bucs would have to decide whether to pick up his fifth-year option for 2020, which would be around $9 million.

One way to keep costs down at corner — and optimism high — is to draft another one. Joe wouldn’t do it, but the thinking at One Buc Palace might be very different.

Regardless of what Bucs fans think, Arians is not married to 2018 rookie corners Carlton Davis or M.J. Stewart, both second-round picks. He didn’t draft them and, heck, he might even want to trade one for picks. Many Bucs fans think Davis is so valuable. Joe would ask those folks what they think Davis and Stewart could command in a trade?

Arians might be asking the same question this week at the NFL Scouting Combine where trades are a major topic among teams.

46 Responses to “Would A Giant Tyrann Mathieu Contract Affect The Bucs’ Decisions At Cornerback?”

  1. AlteredEgo Says:

    I have not followed him as a pro…do know what he was like in college…how bad was his knee ?…I trust the FO on this one at age 26

  2. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Why on earth would we trade Carlton Davis?…….what would we get…..a 4th round pick?……
    MJ Stewart wouldn’t command much in a trade…….we have very few players on our Defense that are worthy of a pick…..we just kept one of them….GMC.

  3. Joeypoppems Says:

    Its crazy to me that Mathieu is only 26. Feels like he’s been around for a long time lol.

  4. SB Says:

    “One way to keep costs down at corner — and optimism high — is to draft another one. Joe wouldn’t do it, but the thinking at One Buc Palace might be very different.”

    I have a different idea………GET A DAM PASS RUSH!!!!!

  5. Not there yet Says:

    It’s a passing league especially in the nfc South, licht cannot continue to have inexperience in the secondary. The honey badger fixes that issue.

  6. SammyRebel Says:

    I don’t really think honey badger will command what everyone is thinking, we do have to start making those cuts tho on the ones who shouldn’t be here, and we sign Mo Claiborne, he won’t command a lot either and trade MJ Stewart, idk why we drafted him I don’t care for him really he’s slow and small, give him to like the packers or bengals

  7. Mort Says:

    Back up the brinks truck!

    Oh wait, it’s empty?

    Whoops! Guess we need cap space first.

    Also, Humphries is as good as gone if we sign these expensive dudes in FA.

  8. martinii Says:

    Get the Honey Badger and decide in camp who plays around him. I would pass over CB in draft. With 6 picks we have other more urgent needs. (OL,RB, OLB)

  9. Season Is Over Says:

    Why would they give big money to a player with knee issues? I would like to think this team has learned its lesson when it comes to free agent signings seeing as the last good one was Vincent Jackson. In the typical Joebuc-fashion the article makes no mention of the knee and its importance with a signing like this. The guy hasn’t missed a game in 2 years and is playing at a high level. That’s Joe’s kind of knee issue! Michael Bennett had a shoulder issue. Calais Campbell allegedly had back problems. That’s why there’s a medical staff. Joe’s not concerned unless the player is missing games. Kellen Winslow had huge, chronic knee issues and didn’t miss a game in three years. Logan Mankins had chronic knee issues, too.–Joe

  10. Mike Johnson Says:

    All I know is What I see. T. Mathieu has a penchant..a nose for making Big
    plays. Not just a couple but quite a few during the game. He’s always right there on, around, and in the play. If these Bucs want to change chemistry? He is probably a great additional start. Improve your Defense Bucs..PAY THE MAN.

  11. Pickgrin Says:

    Signing the Honey Badger should be the Bucs #1 priority as far as bringing in an outside free agent! $7-8M per is fair for what Mathieu will bring to the field and to the locker room.

    We are fine at CB as long as the DLine is able to do a good job this year. Bring in a mid cost free agent with at least some outside CB starting experience and call it a day.

    If you see a good CB prospect in rd 4 or 5 of the draft – grab him.

    First 4 picks in the draft should all be DL and OL players!

  12. Destinjohnny Says:

    We are having to suffer for missed pick after missed pick after missed pick

  13. Season Is Over Says:

    Winslow and Mankins were both traded here. Your other two examples are showing what exactly? That the Bucs are able to correctly make FA decsions? That hasn’t happened since Licht has been here. How did the medical staff do with Sweezy?

  14. Bucafan951 Says:

    I think licht can unscrew this situation he got himself into but I don’t trust he can do it. Keeping McCoy for this season was the first step to failure and hopefully his firing after this season.

  15. Defense Rules Says:

    The main problem with free agency IMO is that you can’t make any single decision in isolation from all the other FA decisions that need to be made. IF (and that’s a big IF) we keep GMC at his present $13 mil contract, as opposed to renegotiating that contract to say $8 mil, then that’s $5 mil we don’t have available to do something else with. IOW overpaying for a DT adversely impacts Bucs’ ability to say sign an experienced Safety for say $7 mil.

    I think we NEED to sign (and/or re-sign) …
    o LT (franchise Donovan) … Cost: $14 mil
    o 2 RB (Barber + experienced FA) … Cost: $8 mil
    o WR (Hump) … Cost: $7 mil
    o Backup QB (Griffin) … Cost: $3 mil
    o 2 LB (Taylor & Lynch) … Cost: $4 mil
    o MLB (experienced FA) … Cost: $5 mil
    o DE (experienced DE) … Cost: $5 mil
    o CB (experienced FA) … Cost: $8 mil
    o Safety (experienced FA) … Cost: $5 mil
    o Guard (experienced FA) … Cost: $4 mil
    o Kicker (experienced FA) … Cost: $2 mil

    That’s $65 mil we’d need to come up with if we go that route. Right now, we have probably $23mil available (after cutting Curry & his $8 mil salary).

    Then draft …
    o Tackle
    o DE
    o DT
    o RB
    o Versatile OLineman
    o LB
    o Punter

    IF the draft works out that way, we could release certain players & save their salary to pay for the FAs we signed. Among them DJax ($10 mil), Unrein (save $3.75 mil), Gholston (save $3.75 mil), Dotson (save $4.8 mil), Anger ($3 mil), Benenoch ($2 mil), Evan Smith ($2 mil). That’s $29.3 mil plus our current $23 mil gets us up to $52 mil. Renegotiate GMC to $8 mil gets us up to $57 mil. Restructure a couple more contracts and we could get up to $65 mil … enough to do all that ‘stuff’ above. Or not.

  16. D1QB Says:

    Season is over,

    It’s not about injuries. It’s about, has the injuries caused a player to miss games.
    Has injuries caused the player to be less effective. In the Honey Badgers case, He missed games, healed, and returned to form.

    The NFL is a 100% work related injury environment. No vet player is 100% injury free. Correction, players that don’t play like perennial backups may not be in this group, but that’s not what we’re talking about. So if you’re looking for a proven successful vet who is low priced, injury free vet with a clean bill of health , you’d probably have more luck finding a less exclusive creature like ……bigfoot.

    There is other factors, such as the frequency of an injury. If that causes a player to miss games ie. chronic injury, HB isn’t in that category. Another is injury frequency. Some players, for a wide variety of reasons, seem to be injury magnets, missing playing time for both reoccurring and non reoccurring injuries. Again, HB isn’t in that category.

  17. Bird Says:

    It may be a toss up for him unless someone throws crazy money at him which is possible considering some teams have 100 mil.

    Bucs – favorite coach


    Saints – his home town

  18. Ndog Says:

    AlteredEgo Says:
    February 24th, 2019 at 11:31 am
    I have not followed him as a pro…do know what he was like in college…how bad was his knee ?…I trust the FO on this one at age 26

    That’s funny with your comments I didn’t think you watched any football especially the Bucs. So this comment below surprises no one.

  19. JimmyJack Says:

    Honey Badger has coverage skills. If you sign him it puts less responsibility on your corners.

    But signing him doesn’t have to dictate anything. The basis for this article seems to imply that the only way to fill a position is to buy a premium FA or use a premium pick.

    Lets just blow up this frame of thinking cause its completely unrealistic.

  20. Alanbucsfan Says:

    I’d rather sign Mathieu than Humphries
    Investments need to be made in Defense
    Bucs have plenty of depth at receiver
    Cue: DJax hate

  21. ncbucsfan Says:

    Some deep analysis on here……and inaccuracies along with it but….oh well! We can sign players and be $15 million OVER THE CAP. We just need to be under the cap by August. We don’t NEED to clear the cap space first!!! I don’t know why everyone keeps counting the Bucs coins NOW like all these moves need to be made before we can sign anyome. THEY DONT!!! There are multiple ways besides cutting players just to make cap room! Rolling salaries into signing bonuses or extending players (Jameis or GMC perhaps) in order to make their current contracts more cap-friendly are just a couple that could create massive space…..WITHOUT cutting all these players. Y’all armchair GMs need to study up on the intricacies of free agency before you post these ironclad proposals without any real merit to them.

    With that being said.: I recommend signing Honey Badger AND Morris Claiborne. Two more LSU guys that are familiar and friends with each other. I’m sure Kwon would be absolutely ecstatic about it (assuming we sign him back).

  22. ncbucsfan Says:

    Sorry, just to correct myself, the restructuring does need to take place first but it can still be done. My brother (who played for the Panthers) told me the Cap is a hard floor now at all times, unlike before the previous CBA when he played. MY BAD!

  23. Jean Lafitte Says:

    How is 7 mil giant compared to overpaid McCoy at 13 mil? I would trade McCoy for two honey badgers.

  24. Defense Rules Says:

    ncbucsfan … Kudos on correcting that earlier post; impressive. Reality is that it makes no difference whatsoever what any of us post in the way of ‘analysis’; none of us have to make the decisions on free agency, draft, or whatever. It’s a complex puzzle, and every piece is a moving part. My point was that pieces can’t be considered in isolation of the other pieces.

  25. StoutGospel Says:

    Hey @ncbucsfan…

    Seeing as how you continue to still run your mouth, insult folks incessantly on and on….have you ever read any of our player contracts in full detail on each clause on OTC or Spotrac big boy??! Like say 4 of our players, 4 that might be traded, or cut, or traded to ease the financial burden regardless….that HAVE….wait for it…BONUSES OR GUARANTEED $$$$ KICKING IN BY THE 5TH DAY IF THE LEAGUE YEAR!! Money that Licht and BA have decided to not allow to kick in by….wait for it…March 17th.

    And…it sure sounds like a certain “armchair GM”…better get a bit smarter. And get realllll quiet, kitten.

    Go Bucs!

  26. Bucafan951 Says:

    I’d rather be an armchair gm than pretend to know how the nfl cap works and ride my brothers coattail…

  27. ncbucsfan Says:

    @Stoutgospel…..pull your skirt up and get your panties out of a jumble…why you mad? Lol! Get over yourself!! My best friends all talk smack to each other and criticize each other’s perspective. You apparently are so much of a square that your easily offended by the comments of someone on a blog!! Really dude, get a life, find a friend and ask them for a hug because you need it. And due to your response I see you don’t embody any of your username, lol! Its all love though bro’

  28. ncbucsfan Says:

    @Bucafan951…..goes for you too!! And ride my brother’s coattail? Ignorance….my brother played in the NFL and is more credible than me, I’m not too arrogant to properly credit him. At the same time, I was drafted by the New Jersey Nets (NBA) and played for 2 years, then professionally in Israel and Spain for 8 more years! I had my own coattail and didn’t need to ride my big brothers.!! Its all good though, just follow my same advice I gave Stoutgospel and stop being so sensitive and easily offended.

  29. ncbucsfan Says:

    @Defense Rules: I feel you. I like the responses though. Half the time I’m honestly playing devils advocate just to ruffle feathers, poke, and habe a little fun! Our opinions mean sh*t in the grand scheme of things, but when I read comments and post on these threads I like to notice that someone reads it. I’m a hardcore Bucs fan since 1995 and just want to habe fun while following Bucs coverage here on JBF! It’s all.good bro!

  30. Trench War Says:

    One cannot argue, that there’s not one single position group we have that couldn’t use a high draft pick. So that puts us in a unique position if we don’t trade down. We draft the best player available BPA with that #5 pick. We’ve got to get this right for a bona fide, out the gate starter.

    Mathieu, Whitehead, Evans, Johnson, and Adams has a pretty good ring to it.

  31. MadMax Says:

    Yes he’s coming here…..and also hope Mo Clai is coming too, shouldnt cost a lot.

    Then draft Devin White (sorry Kwon, youre too expensive), it would be LSU Central in the nfc south lol.

  32. tmaxcon Says:

    it does not matter keeping cancer93 has secured another basement title just ask the previous 4 regimes…

  33. StoutGospel Says:

    @ MadMax…(great movie btw)….

    Mathieu indeed might be on his way here, and Claiborne too wouldn’t be a bad addition either I suppose, but both at market rates might be spending a bit much overall considering all the other things we would need to address, along with our current cap situation. But hey, who knows?! Devin White duz seem like the real deal, but we gotta try for Quinnen first at #5, then maybe Allen after that at #5, if still on the board, then maybe a trade-down to pick up more picks with grabbing White at say #10-12, or later perhaps? I like White, but maybe in the #15 range. And no, that would phase out Kwon. White has a better build than Kwon, beefier.

    @Trench War….

    Completely agree, schmoe Licht has GOT TO get #5 right, but BA will be sitting in that chair loudly reminding Jason pick by pick, who we should take, no doubt about that. So Licht, will be thinking about his paycheck from Team Glazer, and acquiesce. For sure. Licht will step…way back.

    Go Bucs!

  34. Dave Says:

    Hell yes on honey badger
    He can do it all , and play nickel CB.
    Carlton Davis can be good. Keep.
    I am hoping Vernon can be resurrected

    With JPP, Nassib, Vea, gholstin and whoever else they go after in FA and the draft, I’m surprised they are keeping McCoy without restructuring.

  35. D1QB Says:


    If they draft white, they could simply move kwon to the outside or keep him inside if it’s a 3-4 (MO).

  36. Tbbucs3 Says:

    Here’s the thing. The Bucs need to get a big contract in free agency if they actually want to make an impact for once.

    Are we really just gonna keep relying on Jason Lichts draft picks and bargain picks? If you want good players in free agency you have to spend.

    1 impact player is better than 5 average players. Period.

  37. Defense Rules Says:

    @Tbbucs3 … “1 impact player is better than 5 average players. Period.” That right there has been the Bucs problem all these years Tbbucs. We overpay several impact players and then deal with the weaknesses that result at several other key locations. Lack of balance? Those ‘average players’ as you call them, with proper coaching, can be the keys to eliminating weaknesses in various position groups.

  38. D1QB Says:


    You’re right. Licht has that Patriots mentality of thinking first and foremost of value when it comes to free agents. I don’t understand how long it takes to figure out that Billichek and the patriot way works great for them but it’s not translating into other teams. For as successful as Billichek is , his coaching tree is not bearing fruit.

    Meaning, licht needs to forget some of the lessons learned from Billichek.
    You’d think the kicker in the 2nd round would have been a eye opener. That had Patriots mentality all over it and it failed. Value Value Value has failed and failed and where are we today…talking value. This is not the patriots , he’ll even their owner is a value Hunter. Which demonstrates clearly that it’s Billichek not Kraft that can shop for value and not got stung.

  39. Tbbucs3 Says:

    Defense rules

    Who exactly have the Bucs overpaid for whose actually good? The Bucs problem is lack of elite talent. Playoff teams win with elite players, Simple as that. Show me 1 Super Bowl team whose ever one with average players across the board.

    Now am I saying that the Bucs need 22 elite players on offense and defense? Absolutely not but we need more. I am not against getting some bargain players in free agency, but what I am against is Jason Licht repeatily passing on elite players in free agency and only signing bargain guys who he thinks will suddenly break out into something they are not (Vinny Curry)

    And Desean Jackson was not elite when we signed him.

  40. Berniebuc Says:

    Just think 2 years ago we was screaming weapons for Winston we did that and changed the culture on offense in Tampa! (Hints #1 passing offense in the league) now let’s do that to our defense cut guys who aren’t great use that money to sign the great ones get some missiles for McCoy now then we talking super bowl! Oh yea grab a kicker while y’all at

  41. D1QB Says:


    DJax is an elite talent not necessarily elite production wise. Yes, He was elite when Tampa signed him. Elite talent wise.

    Now if Winston had hit him 50% of times He was wide open His production would have been huge. If Koetter had used him in a more creative fashion his production would’ve been off the charts.

    Unfortunately, the team didn’t put him a position to produce relative to his contract. Overpriced and underperformed is the reality but that’s not an indictment of DJaxs talent level.

  42. D1QB Says:


    The problem is that the highly paid impact players don’t make an impact. The resulting holes you refer to starts with the impact players. They’ve filled no holes,
    they became a higher priced hole.

    If the high priced free agent impact players actually became impact players,then there’s no discussion.

  43. __TGH__ Says:

    If we sign this guy (or Landon Collins please) our first round pick will definitely be at linebacker. Tough to move to a 3-4 with 1 healthy linebacker coming into the season. 2nd round pick needs to be T/G. Is Dodson even going to play? Can that guy still walk? What about Caleb B? That guy is a dumpster fire. Profile 2nd round OL please. We need to find a legit starter in the 2nd round.

  44. SOEbuc Says:

    Trading out of ten I would have no problem picking up Greedy Williams to play opposite Davis. Those gigantic, lengthy CBs are just the type Bowels likes working with. VH3 played well in 2018 in the slot before he went down. Pick up Honey Badger with Justin Evans and MJ Stewart playing second string and rotating, that sounds like a hell of a secondary.

  45. pick6 Says:

    Mathieu played all over the field under Bowls, including some CB. he is a piece the bucs must add

  46. pick6 Says: