After being cut by the Arizona Cardinals, Tyrann Mathieu signed a one-year prove-it deal with the Houston Texans. One of his former teammates is confident the do-everything safety will prove it in spades.
"I know he's going to make the best of this opportunity," Cardinals corner Patrick Peterson said, via ESPN's Josh Weinfuss. "I tell him all the time, I love to see him with his back against the wall because he always finds a way to prevail and he's going to have a big year.
"He's going to have a really big year."
With the Cardinals moving to a new defense under coach Steve Wilks, the team deemed Mathieu too costly to keep, and therefore jettisoned the playmaking safety who had come to signify Arizona's rollercoaster past few seasons.
Peterson said it "was very hard" to see the Cardinals get rid of a close teammate like Honey Badger.
"So, it's very tough, very tough to see a brother leave and go onto a different team," Peterson said.
The Pro Bowl corner is confident Mathieu will thrive in Houston because the safety is finally healthy for a full offseason, unlike the previous four years, which will allow him to improve on an impressive end to the 2017 campaign.
"It's the second season not having an opportunity to not go through any operations," Peterson said. "Just completely work out and focus on his body. Last year, he was kind of figuring how his body was going to hold up. So, he was kind of second guessing himself in the first half of the season. But once he got going, he returned back to the Honey Badger, and I can't wait to see what he's going to do out there in Houston because they have a lot of great pieces out there to help him flourish."
If Honey Badger returns to form in 2018, he'll be a nuisance on the field in Houston behind one of the top pass-rushing units in the NFL. How the Texans' brass deploys Mathieu will be one of the more intriguing defensive questions heading into the season. With the ability to play deep, cover tight ends and backs, and keen blitz timing, Mathieu could be a menace that puts Houston back in the playoff picture.