(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Surprisingly, in a Tuesday Q&A post, Bob Labriola of Steelers.com revealed that the Steelers have an interest in three-time All-Pro safety Tyrann Mathieu, but only if the price is right. Labriola works for the Steelers and is usually pretty close to the vest when asked about free agents.
Mathieu said on the "Jordy Culotta Show" two weeks ago that he's talked with Mike Tomlin on the phone. So, Labriola saying that the Steelers have an interest in Mathieu really isn't earth-shattering, but it's still noteworthy that he openly admitted to it.
“The Steelers have an interest in signing Tyrann Mathieu, and they would have enough cap space to sign him to a two-year contract for what they believe he is worth. The issue is whether Mathieu agrees with the Steelers’ assessment about what he is worth,” Labriola said.
The Rams, Eagles and Saints have all been reported to have interest in Mathieu. Mathieu visited the Saints at the team facility last week and had a virtual visit with the Eagles.
It appeared that Kevin Colbert shut down the Mathieu rumors when speaking with members of the Pittsburgh media last month, as Colbert said they prefer signing younger free agents. Mathieu turns 30 in May and coming off his fourth contract.
"Our preference is always to add players coming off of their first contract or as close to their first contract as they can be," Colbert said via a phone call while reporters were gathered at the NFL Owners Meetings in Palm Beach, Fla. Colbert was attending pro days this week, so he wasn't down in Florida.
Colbert mentioned that he believes the Steelers currently have starting-caliber players for 24 of 25 positions. The lone vacancy is at strong safety, as Terrell Edmunds is still unsigned and the Steelers are not going to chase him with contract offers, according to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Dulac thinks the Steelers would consider re-signing Edmunds, but only if he doesn’t get a substantial offer in free agency.
The Steelers could afford Mathieu, but the three-time All-Pro made it clear that he wants to play for a championship-caliber team (I'm not sure if the Steelers are there right now). They have the pieces on defense, but there are some major question marks on offense, especially at quarterback with Mitch Trubisky. Mathieu also stressed how important the quarterback position is to win.
“From a leadership perspective, you obviously want to be part of a good group of guys," Mathieu said when asked what he's looking for in a team. "You want to be able to work well with these guys. These are guys that you spend a good part of your life with once you sign a contract, hours and hours on end. You want to be a part of a good group.
“And then, too, I think I’ve been spoiled. I’ve always been around guys like Larry Fitzgerald, Patrick Petersen, J.J. Watt. So, If you ain’t got those guys in the room, I don’t know if I fit in the room. And then you want to win, it's all about being able to compete.”