According to Matt Verderame, the Arizona Cardinals and Patrick Peterson are expected to part ways during the offseason. Peterson is about to finish his five year $70.05 Million deal with Arizona. He has been a staple of the Arizona Cardinals franchise for a decade.
The Cardinals drafted Peterson fifth overall in 2015. During his time with the team, Peterson has been to eight Pro Bowls and has been a three-time All-Pro. He has been one of the league’s elite cornerbacks for most of his tenure with the team which earned him a spot on the 2010’s All-Decade Team.
Going into next season Peterson will be 31 and his best years will likely be behind him. He is likely leaving Arizona to join a contender and have a chance at winning the Super Bowl to cement his Hall of Fame status.
Here are the teams who could potentially sign Patrick Peterson this offseason.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Contract: 2 years $24.5 Million
The Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers elite defensive play was a large reason why they won on Sunday. But that doesn’t mean they can’t keep trying to add top-end talent to try to return to the Super Bowl next season.
The closest Peterson came to a Super Bowl was in the 2015-16 season where the Arizona Cardinals went 13-3 which was the second-best record in the NFC and whole NFL. They made it to the NFC Championship game before getting blown out 49-15. Since then the Cardinals have gone 31-47-2 and haven’t been to the playoffs. The head coach of the Cardinals at the time was current Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians.
The Buccaneers secondary has improved this past season from years before, but still has room to improve. Tampa Bay is likely to lose one or two players from their elite front seven which will make it harder for their secondary next season.
Signing a Pro Bowl-caliber player like Peterson could cover for the fact that the Buccaneers pass rush will not be as strong next season. Also, Peterson would have a realistic opportunity at the Super Bowl joining this past year’s winners and he is familiar with the scheme since he has played under Bruce Arians and his staff in the past.
Contract: 1 year $10 Million
Last offseason the Indianapolis Colts took on a chance on a cornerback who was once considered elite but has declined way beyond that point. They got a steal when they signed Xavier Rhodes to a one year $3 Million deal.
However, Rhodes is a free agent and could get a multiyear offer from a team. If the Colts want to sign a talented cornerback to a similar deal Peterson would be a perfect fit. He played better in his situation last year than Rhodes did in his last year in Minnesota. So Indianapolis may have to pay Peterson more than they paid Rhodes.
The Colts roster is one of the best in the league. They could compete for a Super Bowl as soon as next season depending on the other roster moves they make this offseason. Bringing in a veteran like Peterson could be what brings the Colts to the next level.
New York Jets
Contract: 3 Years $42.5 Million
The New York Jets may be attempting to rebuild their roster. However, the team may look to overpay some veterans to speed up this rebuild and help them be competitive as soon as next season. Despite wanting to play for a contender the Jets have the building blocks to contend in a few seasons.
The Jets can afford to slightly overpay for Peterson. Also, Peterson might be intrigued to play under new Jets head coach Robert Saleh. Before he was hired by the Jets Saleh was regarded by many to be the best defensive coordinator in the league. A lot of players can vouch for Saleh as a coach. He has great relationships with his players.
Peterson would become the cornerback one in New York. His veteran presence could be what the Jets locker room needs to build a culture and potentially become a playoff team in the near future.
Contract: 2 years $25 Million
Last season the Cleveland Browns made the playoffs for the first time since 2002. They also won their first playoff game since 1994. Now the team has one season until they have to pay Baker Mayfield to take advantage of their $29.7 Million in salary cap space. They need to fill every void on their roster with veteran players who can get them into the Super Bowl picture.
Cleveland has a true number one cornerback in former fourth overall pick Denzel Ward. But opposite of Ward has been a question mark. Both Kevin Johnson and Terrance Mitchell are free agents. M.J. Stewart has shown potential at times but is more of a third corner. While Greedy Williams hasn’t bloomed into the cornerback many thought he would be out of LSU when Cleveland drafted him in the second round.
At this stage, the Browns have to take advantage of their window and cannot wait around for their number two cornerback to develop. Peterson could be the star player the Browns defense needs to elevate this team as a whole to the next level.
Contract: 1 year $13 Million
The Denver Broncos roster looked sneaky good coming into the year. But after losing Von Miller and Courtland Sutton before Week 2 of the season the Broncos season seemed pretty much over. If Denver continues to add veterans to this roster along with some young talent through the draft they could be a wild card team as soon as next season.
The Broncos biggest need is at cornerback. A.J. Bouye did not play great last year and neither did the cornerbacks opposiite him. He will likely play better in his second year in this scheme and if they retain Miller to go opposite Bradley Chubb.
Despite Peterson being past his peak years his addition to the Broncos defense could propel them to near elite territory if multiple players across their defense play at their peak level. Besides Miller, Chubb, Bouye, and potentially Peterson the Broncos defense has a couple more star players across their defense including Jurrell Casey, Justin Simmons, Bryce Callahan, Shelby Harris, and Alexander Johnson.
The Broncos won Super Bowl 50 on their amazing defense. The Broncos appear to be trying to replicate that under defensive specialist Vic Fangio. If the Broncos get their defense to play at a high level it will help Drew Lock and the Broncos young offense.
San Fransisco 49ers
Contract: 2 Years $28 Million
This is an absolute nightmare for people who follow the Arizona Cardinals. Peterson has a lot of respect for Arizona and what they have done for him over the years so there is a solid chance not going to look to sign with a team who plays them twice a year. But it makes a lot of sense for the 49ers and Peterson to be interested in each other.
Former Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman signed with the 49ers to spite Seattle. Since then he has reclaimed his spot as one of the best cornerbacks in the leauge as a part of one of the best defense. It is rumored that Sherman is going to leave San Fransisco. Peterson would be a perfect fit to fill Shermans role on the 49ers defense.
San Fransisco is a year removed from a Super Bowl appearance and still went 6-10 this past season with most of the teams elite and star players missing time due to injury. Also Petersons former defensive coordinator from 2015-17 James Bettcher just joined the 49ers as a Senior defensive assistant.
Contract: 2 years $24 Million
Despite only going 5-11 last season the Carolina Panthers are trying to be competitive as soon as next season. This was obvious from when the team attempted to trade Teddy Bridgewater and the 8th overall pick to Detroit for Matthew Stafford. If Carolina wants to be competitve next season they need to add some talented veterans to their young star-loaded defense.
Carolina has multiple young stars across their defense including Brian Burns, Jeremy Chinn, Derrick Brown, and Donte Jackson. The defense is lacking veteran starters who can lead the locker room. Overall the Panthers have one of the youngest rosters in the league. Peterson could provide veteran leadership and fill a void the team has at cornerback. Even though Rasul Douglas played well for Carolina last year, Peterson would be a huge upgrade.
It is possible that Peterson may have to take a discount because Carolina only has $17.9 Million in salary cap space. But his addition to their defense could put them over the edge and in position to sneak into a wildcard spot in the NFC.