Former Arizona Cardinals Safety Tyrann Mathieu

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Mack: Steelers Miss On Mathieu

Chris Mack
March 18, 2018 - 11:14 am

It’s not often Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert makes a glaring error.

He just did though by missing on free agent defensive back Tyrann Mathieu.

At the same time Colbert was releasing veteran members of the secondary in Mike Mitchell, William Gay, and Robert Golden, Mathieu was being released by the Cardinals late last week because he was unwilling to take a pay cut to stay in Arizona.

When Mathieu expressed his desire to go to a winner, and that it wasn’t just about money for him, it seemed like Pittsburgh made perfect sense.

“I want to go somewhere where I can be completely immersed in football, and it’s not too much about anything but winning,” he told Albert Breer. “I want to be a part of winning culture, where you feel that all the time. That’s all I want.”

So he did, indeed, end up taking a decrease in pay, to a point where he would have fit under the Steelers’ cap without any restructuring of existing deals necessary. $6.5 million guaranteed for one year with the Texans. That just so happens to be exactly how much cap space the Steelers have right now.

How did Colbert miss the opportunity to add the kind of big play ability to his secondary that’s lacked since the retirement of Troy Polamalu?

How did the Steelers miss on the chance to add a jack of all trades who can play a deep centerfield safety, line up in the box and make impact plays in the run game, as well as take snaps in the slot in their dime package?

How did they miss creating what would’ve been arguably the best duo of young safeties in the game by pairing Mathieu with Sean Davis?

Was it because they somehow feel supremely confident in J.J. Wilcox? Was it because they think they can do better in the draft? Was it because the Le’Veon Bell franchise tag is eating up too much cap space?

Without knowing the answers to any of those questions, one thing you can be certain of is that none of them should excuse missing on the kind of addition that was a no-brainer.

Just about six months after capitalizing on an epic mistake by the Cleveland Browns that allowed Joe Haden to fall in to their lap, Colbert and the Steelers somehow missed doing the same when Arizona made a similar blunder.

Now, as Mathieu sits in Houston with a team-friendly deal, the Steelers sit on the South Side, trying to decide between Wilcox, Jordan Dangerfield, and an anonymous draft pick.

Colbert doesn’t make many mistakes, but that certainly counts as one.