HOUSTON -- When safety Tyrann Mathieu began looking for a new team in free agency, he was looking for a team that "was dominant on defense" and "had great potential."
Mathieu quickly settled on the Houston Texans, who are coming off a 4-12 season but will get back several difference-makers on defense who were injured last year.
"I don't think I've ever played with a defensive line quite like the guys that they have here with [Whitney] Mercilus and [J.J.] Watt and [Jadeveon] Clowney," Mathieu said. "So, I'm going to have a lot of fun playing behind those guys and I think that played a part in me coming here as well."
The Texans add another potentially dominant defensive player in Mathieu, who was named to the first-team All-Pro in 2015, along with Watt. Mathieu signed a one-year, $7 million deal with the Texans last week after he was released by the Arizona Cardinals on Wednesday. He said other teams offered him more money but he felt that "ultimately, the Texans were the best decision" for him.
"They have a lot of young guys," Mathieu said. "They have a great defensive line. They've got some veterans in the secondary. I feel like I could come in and really help these guys."
"[Last year they were] an exciting football team to watch, especially when [quarterback] Deshaun [Watson] was healthy. I think having him, I think it gives a lot of us confidence. I think any time you play on a team with a quarterback with his kind of capabilities, it always gives your team an advantage. ... They have some great leaders, some great veterans in the secondary and I've always had that where I came from. So, I'm just looking forward to really jelling with the guys, coming in here, just putting the work in and just letting those guys get to know me."
The 25-year-old said he and Watt share the same agent and have known each other for a couple of years, keeping touch on social media. Mathieu also was complimentary of Clowney, saying, "it's been fascinating just to see his growth."
"I watched him play against [the Cardinals] last year ... and he [was] dominant," Mathieu said. "I think to have him and J.J. [Watt] on the field at the same time, I'm going to have a lot of fun in the back end.
"I can't say it enough, I get to play with Clowney and Watt. I can just stand in the middle of the field. I'm going to have a lot of fun."