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Tyrann Mathieu felt unwanted by the Kansas City Chiefs and hung out on the free-agent market until May before landing with the New Orleans Saints.
That said, he’s still the NFL’s best safety—at least according to Madden 23.
EA Sports revealed ratings for safeties Wednesday, and Mathieu was the position’s top-rated player with a 94 overall.
Madden Top Safeties
1. Tyrann Mathieu, Saints (94)
2. Derwin James, Chargers (93)
3. Budda Baker, Cardinals (92)
4. Kevin Byard, Titans (92)
5. Micah Hyde, Bills (91)
6. Justin Simmons, Broncos (91)
7. Jessie Bates III, Bengals (90)
8. Jordan Poyer, Bills (90)
9. Harrison Smith, Vikings (90)
10. Jamal Adams, Seahawks (90)
Who is not appearing in the top 10? The player the Chiefs chose over Mathieu: Justin Reid. The 25-year-old signed a three-year deal in Kansas City at the outset of free agency. Reid’s deal had more guaranteed money at signing, so it was clearly a football-based decision from the Chiefs’ standpoint.
While Madden ratings are not considered a definitive ranking of the NFL’s best players, it’s at least interesting to see the occasional dichotomy between the thinking of teams and EA Sports.
Mathieu made his second straight Pro Bowl team but was not selected as an All-Pro last season for the first time since 2018.
Once the season gets underway, it would not be a surprise if James or Baker winds up ascending past Mathieu and becoming Madden 23’s top safety. Both are mid-20s stars in the middle of their prime and coming off Pro Bowl campaigns; Mathieu is a 30-year-old going through a change of scenery. It would stand to reason that Mathieu’s perch atop the rankings is shaky.
On the other hand, Mathieu has done nothing but prove his doubters wrong every time he’s been counted out in the past. The nine years of proven production, over everything else, is likely why he was given top billing for Madden 23.