The $7.5 Million Question: Is Julian Peterson Worth It for the Detroit Lions?

Oliver SethContributor IMay 24, 2010

MINNEAPOLIS - NOVEMBER 15:  Adrian Peterson #28 of the Minnesota Vikings carries the ball as Julian Peterson #59 of the Detroit Lions defends on November 15, 2009 at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

Last offseason, Detroit made a trade with its usual trade partnerβ€”the Seattle Seahawks. They acquired Julian Peterson for former DT Cory Redding, who signed a seven-year, $49 million deal the previous year, while Peterson had signed a massive deal with Seattle a few years back.

The reason for the trade was Redding was not a fit for Detroit and Peterson was one of many in the formerly great Seattle LB corps.

But that is beyond the point.

In his first year, Peterson massively underperformed with a nearly $8 million paycheck. Granted, he was a Pro Bowl alternate, only amassing a near career-low 74 tackles, and he is going to be 32 this year.

While most figured he was to be traded again this offseason or let go, personally, I believe it was a great move to keep this aging linebacker.

Yes, I did say aging.

But age is not the problem. I personally think the problem was who he played alongside last year and don't believe the age was the cause for this near career low. Just look at Keith Bulluck, who many have linked to Detroit in a possible FA signing and his near-fantastic season at the age of 32.

Bulluck aside, let's get to the real reason I believe Peterson was on the brink of a horrible season.

Peterson had to play with two LBs that did not fit the Detroit scheme.

One was Larry Foote.

Foote was a 3-4 Pittsburgh linebacker the year before, and having the dream to play for his hometown team was probably the only reason he signed the one-year deal (notice he went back to Pittsburgh this year). Having to experience losing could have been another reason for his departure, but his departure was needed for Detroit to improve.

Now that Foote is gone, Peterson has a better fit in DeAndre Levy to play MLB alongside and help him produce a season to live up to the contract.

Then comes a player who was traded this offseason, Ernie Sims.

Sims was not the greatest LB. His stats having fallen each of the years since being drafted in '06, minus the 2008 season.

The reason for that is that he was not a 4-3 LB, nor was he was a great fit for Tampa Two. I feel he was a much better fit for 3-4 instead, and having being traded to a 3-4 in Philly, he should improve drastically.

Now as for the hole it left, second-year pro Zack Follett and potential free agent Keith Bulluck, who I previously mentioned, could play the opposite outside to help improve Peterson even more.

On a quick note, he also has a new supporting cast on the D-line with Corey Williams, Kyle Vanden Bosch, and Ndamukong Suh, which should create some holes for him to make sacks and tackles.

Peterson is due $7.5 million this year, and having a new supporting cast, the question is, is he worth it?


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.