Patrick Peterson Rumors: Cardinals Looking to Re-Sign CB After Watt Contract

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 1, 2021

Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson (21) runs on the field during the second half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
Ashley Landis/Associated Press

Having worked out a deal with J.J. Watt, the Arizona Cardinals would reportedly like to further bolster their defense by holding onto Patrick Peterson.

Watt announced Monday he's joining the Cardinals following his release from the Houston Texans. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Arizona is looking to continue addressing that side of the ball and "would like to re-sign" Peterson "for the right number."

Peterson is due to be a free agent upon the expiration of his five-year, $70.1 million contract.

Spotrac estimates the Cardinals to have $17.3 million available to spend with a $185 million salary cap, and that doesn't take into account what ESPN's Adam Schefter reported to be a two-year, $31 million deal for Watt.

Peterson finished with 61 tackles, eight passes defended and three interceptions in 2020. The 30-year-old is an eight-time Pro Bowler, a three-time All-Pro, and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's All-Decade team for the 2010s.

However, Pro Football Focus ranked Peterson as the No. 73 free agent on the board and pointed out how his performance level has dipped a bit over the past two seasons:

"The No. 5 overall pick from 2011 hadn't shown any signs of slowing down through the 2018 season — his eighth consecutive year playing in all 16 games — but a six-game suspension to start the 2019 season may have provided one explanation. Peterson has struggled against good route-runners, and 2020 has seen him post his worst coverage grade since 2011 to go with a league-high 11 penalties. Recent play shows a below-average corner in both man and zone coverage."

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Still, Peterson is bound to have some external interest because of his resume, and he has acknowledged a level of enthusiasm about hitting the open market after having spent his entire career with the Cardinals.

"There's nothing like feeling wanted and a team feeling like you can be that missing piece to help them turn that corner or be that guy to help jell the locker room or help young guys come along or whatever it may be," he said on his All Things Covered podcast with Bryant McFadden (via the Arizona Republic's Bob McManaman).

"This is an exciting part of my career. Ten years in and I feel like I've got a lot left in the tank going into year 11 this year. Time flies, but it's a blessing to be where I'm at right now."

Leaving the money aside, Peterson may want to move to a franchise that appears to be closer to a Super Bowl in 2021.

The Cardinals showed promise with their 5-2 start and a dramatic overtime victory over the Seattle Seahawks. That made their 8-8 finish feel deflating despite the fact it represented an improvement over 2019's 5-10-1 mark.

While the team is considered a playoff contender, few would identify Arizona as a championship contender right now, even with the addition of Watt.

That Rapoport's report about the Cardinals wanting Peterson "for the right number" seems to be a tacit admission there's a chance the legendary cornerback is suiting up for somebody else next season.