The Kansas City Chiefs are going to look a lot different in 2022 than they did in 2021. A lot of attention has been given to the offensive side of the ball with Tyreek Hill being traded to the Miami Dolphins, but it is their defense that was hit hardest this offseason by players moving on. One big loss was star safety Tyrann Mathieu leaving to sign with the New Orleans Saints.
Kansas City will be filling numerous key positions on the defense as five different players who were on the field for at least 45 percent of the snaps in 2021 will not be with the team this upcoming season. The secondary was hit hardest, as Daniel Sorenson, Charvarius Ward and Tyrann Mathieu all moved on.
Ward is heading west as he is set to take over the No. 1 cornerback spot for the San Francisco 49ers. Sorenson and Mathieu will be playing together again, as they both signed deals with the New Orleans Saints.
For Mathieu, this will be a homecoming as he was born in New Orleans, attended high school at St. Augustine’s in New Orleans and then played collegiately at LSU. He will not continue his pro career at home, something that Chiefs head coach Andy Reid was very happy about for him.
“Love the kid. He’s great. Great kid. Somebody else will have to step into that and pick their game up,” Reid said, via Pete Sweeney of ArrowheadPride.com. “We’re lucky to have him here where guys could see how he rolls and how he leads. I’m happy he has a chance to go home and play like he is here with the Saints.
“They got a good football player and a great person. I know he’ll be missed in the community with the things he did there. Again, other guys have to pick that up and go. Sure loved having him here. Great kid.”
The Saints are getting one of the most versatile safeties in the NFL, as Mathieu lined up all over the defense for the Chiefs. He can play both safety spots, come down and play in the box as an extra run defender or even play some slot cornerback.
Justin Ried is going to have a tall task replacing him in the Chiefs defense, as Mathieu was durable as well. He has averaged over 1,000 snaps per season since 2017, rarely coming off the field.
New Orleans is certainly ecstatic to have him coming home. He and Marcus Maye will be replacing Marcus Williams, who signed with the Baltimore Ravens and Malcolm Jenkins, who retired. For a team that came into the offseason with as big of salary cap issues as the Saints, they came away feeling good about the players they were able to obtain.