Tyrann Mathieu: Safeties Have to Play ‘Lights Out’ to Be Valued as Free Agents

Arizona Cardinals free safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) during an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. The Seahawks won 22-16. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

Safeties have had a hard time cashing out in free agency this spring, and Tyrann Mathieu explained why on Tuesday. 

Responding to a tweet that theorized his one-year, $7 million deal with the Houston Texans drove the safety market down, Mathieu noted teams are no longer willing to shell out big bucks for players at his position: 

To Mathieu’s point, safeties’ deals have been rather modest through the first week of free agency.

According to Spotrac, Mathieu’s $6.5 million guaranteed ranks tops among all free-agent safeties. Kurt Coleman, who inked a three-year, $18 million deal with the New Orleans Saints, is the only other safety who has been able to secure more than $5 million guaranteed. 

On the whole, league-wide data indicates the average safety earns $2.1 million per year, while defensive ends and cornerbacks make $2.8 and $2.2 million, respectively, on an annual basis.