Patrick Peterson will likely be going to his first free agency this year after reports of the Cardinals asking him to take a pay cut have surfaced. He is sure to bring in many suitors just based on name value alone, but how much attention should Pat Pete receive? After all, he is on the wrong side of thirty and hasn’t seen a Pro Bowl in either of the last 2 seasons after going to 8 straight and garnering 3 First-Team All-Pro recognitions. Is Peterson really worth another $14 million per year salary?
If you look at some of the other names at the $14 million mark, it is questionable at best if Patrick belongs. Names like Trae Waynes, Marcus Peters, and Stephon Gilmore leave no firm answer, however one thing must be taken into account first and foremost: his age. Pat Pete will be turning 31 next season and for a corner, that is getting old and some drop-off in his play is expected.
However, Peterson has shown little drop-off in his last two seasons, still getting multiple interceptions per year and not posting any missed games due to injury (he missed six in 2019 for violating league policy). In fact, his tackle numbers actually increased from some of his younger days. The issues are in his completion percentage and QBR allowed. He allowed over 60% of passes completed and almost 100 passer rating. These numbers are similar to Kyle Fuller ($14 million a year) and Malcolm Butler ($12.25 million a year) who were both younger than Peterson at the age of their signings, both being 27.
Another thing to account for is the teams who need a corner and would be able to pay Patrick Peterson with the reduced cap space. Currently only about half of NFL teams have enough cap space to afford him, but some of my favorite landing spots are the Cowboys, Football Team, Jaguars, or Jets.
The Cowboys have been needing a corner ever since letting go of Byron Jones last year and while the drafting of Trevon Diggs helped, Dallas ranked 11th in pass yards allowed per game. This could be improved and likely should be in a division with some subpar quarterback play. The Cowboys currently have $19 million in open cap and have to resign Dak Prescott among others but if they could squeeze in his contract, Pat Pete should have easy pickings from Daniel Jones, Jalen Hurts, and Taylor Heinicke.
The Football Team also has the advantage of poor quarterback play in the division although they will most likely have to play Dak twice a year as well. However, Peterson would have a strong defense built around him. Washington boasted the third-best passing defense last year. Adding another defender may seem like overkill but getting another corner to play across from Kendall Fuller may be enough to push the defense to #1 and back into the playoffs.
The Jaguars may be the most likely to get Patrick Peterson just based on the amount of cap room they have and the gaping hole at corner after Jalen Ramsey‘s departure. While he may only be good for a few more years, he could hopefully help mentor C.J Henderson after his lackluster rookie year. If he signs with Jacksonville, Peterson would hopefully help the Jags get back on their feet and away from their low rated pass defense.
Lastly, the Jets, whose cornerback core has been a joke since they paid Trumaine Johnson his massive contract. They have so many needs but corner has to be one of their largest, especially with star safety Jamal Adams gone too. They have the money to make a good offer and need a player for the defense to be led by.
In the end, it will most likely come down to money with Peterson. He should expect a hefty pay-day at a little under his ask, I would assume $10-13 million. Time will tell if the vet finds the money he wants or not, but in a year with lowered cap, it may have just been the wrong time for him. Where he ends up remains to be seen but what is certain is that he will have an impact wherever he goes. It will be extremely interesting to see how the Patrick Peterson situation plays out as the NFL’s free agency period starts on March 15.
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