Kansas City Chiefs star Patrick Mahomes provided a ringing endorsement of teammate Tyrann Mathieu on Friday.
"He's such a great leader on this team and obviously a special football player," Mahomes said of the two-time Pro Bowler. "You want him to be here for the long run and you can tell that Chiefs Kingdom is really behind him as the leader of that defense and a leader on this team. Definitely want him to be here as long as he can and as long as I'm here."
Mathieu is entering the final year of his contract and is due to hit free agency in 2022.
Mahomes is signed through 2031 after agreeing to his historic 10-year, $450 million extension. There may not be a single member of Kansas City's roster who will still be around by the time his deal expires.
Some were surprised to see the 25-year-old commit himself to the Chiefs for such a long period because his $45 million annual salary could be less than market value when he gets deeper into the deal.
Mahomes explained at the time that he wanted to have long-term security while also "[keeping] really good football players around me."
Although he didn't explicitly reference Mathieu, the veteran safety was probably somebody he had in mind.
Mathieu posted 61 tackles, nine pass breakups and six interceptions in 2020. He was a first-team All-Pro for the third time—his second in as many years with Kansas City. And at 28, he shouldn't be on the verge of a rapid decline anytime soon.
Mathieu has also said he "would like to stay here, for sure."
Perhaps he'll wind up playing elsewhere in 2022, but the Chiefs would seem to have every advantage at their disposal in terms of keeping him for next year and beyond.