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NFL - US Sports: Honey Badger 'heading for free agency'

Tyrann Mathieu is reportedly ready to explore the free-agency market if the Kansas City Chiefs can't meet his new contract expectations in the next week.

The Chiefs, who are 13/2 to win Super Bowl LVII, have been in talks with Mathieu for the past week without so far finding an agreement.

Mathieu excels with Chiefs

The safety, who has the nickname 'Honey Badger', declared his "hope and dream to continue to be a Kansas City Chief" at the NFL Honors show prior to the Super Bowl.

After a one-season stint with the Houston Texans, Mathieu signed a three-year, $42 million contract with the Chiefs in 2019.

The 29-year-old has made two Pro Bowls and two All-Pro teams during his time at Arrowhead Stadium. He scored a touchdown last season while also finishing with 76 tackles, six pass deflections and three fumble recoveries.

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According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, while there's still time for the Chiefs to thrash out a new agreement, it looks unlikely to happen until after free agency starts on March 16th.

"My understanding is he's going to test the market," Rapoport told NFL Network on Sunday, adding that Mathieu "probably breaks double digits" in terms of annual salary.

Smith deal a possible factor

Mathieu and his agent will probably be citing Harrison Smith's contract in negotiations after the long-time Minnesota Vikings safety signed a four-year, $64 million extension in August 2021 at the age of 32.

The Honey Badger made a cryptic Twitter post Saturday seemingly directed at the Chiefs. "Replacing me is easy," he wrote. "Getting them to do the same thing I did is damn near impossible."

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