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The Arizona Cardinals' fourth-year cornerback has become one of the biggest stars in the NFL. Known for his elite athleticism and playmaking ability, Peterson is ready to get paid. According to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, Peterson wasn’t ruling out a holdout in February.
I can’t speak on that right now,” Peterson said when asked whether a holdout is out of the question. “Me and my agent, we haven’t talked about some of those possibilities. But hopefully we can get something done. If something were to happen, we restructure my deal or anything like that, we’ll have to wait and see what happens.
More recently, Peterson told Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com he wouldn’t hold out, according to Kevin Patra of NFL.com, saying, “Like I told you guys, I won't hold out so we got that done. I will be there...be there full tilt ready to roll, taking that final step into camp."
The change in plans for Peterson is likely because the groundwork of a new deal is set between he and the Cardinals, per Ian Rapoport (h/t to Gregg Rosenthal) of NFL Network. As long as the deal isn’t finalized, it will serve as a major situation to be addressed by the team.
The Cardinals are trying to improve upon their surprise 10-6 season in 2013, and Peterson is crucial to achieve that success. As PFF’s 15th-ranked cornerback last year, Peterson showed improvement in his overall technique. At just 23 years old, he should continue to get better in his discipline covering precision routes and anticipating comebacks.
Arizona has incentive to lock Peterson up with a long-term deal right now. By extending his 2015 option, Peterson is guaranteed to make over $10 million in salary, which represents a 350 percent increase from 2014 to 2015. With such a drastic raise, the team only has $2.275 million in free space in 2015. By giving Peterson a long-term deal, the Cardinals can stretch his signing bonus to alleviate their cap situation after 2014.
Being a top-five selection in 2011, Peterson was signed to a fully guaranteed deal worth $18 million as a rookie. His high base salary and age likely means the value of his new contract will be higher than rival cornerback Richard Sherman’s deal, which included $40 million guaranteed and $57.4 million total over five years, according to Rapoport.
It seems the Cardinals have targeted Peterson as their franchise building block on defense, so expect movement on a new contract before training camp.