The Arizona Cardinals have a lot of decisions to make this offseason, especially with two key pieces of their defense hitting the open market.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler ranked this offseason’s top-50 free agents and has edge rusher Haason Reddick ranked 24th and cornerback Patrick Peterson ranked as the 31st-best free agent.
After a slow start to his pro career, the former first-round pick from Temple enjoyed a breakout season, recording 12.5 sacks and 15 tackles for loss, all career highs. He also added 63 tackles, six forced fumbles and four passes defensed.
Instead of re-signing with the Cardinals, who declined the outside linebacker’s fifth-year option last offseason, Fowler predicts Reddick will sign with the Denver Broncos.
Denver has a big decision to make on Von Miller’s $17.5 million option. Miller turns 32 in March, and even if Denver brings him back, it needs to plan for the future at pass-rusher opposite Bradley Chubb (though Malik Reed is a good in-house option).
As for Peterson, Fowler believes the cornerback’s best fit is outside of Arizona, and will sign with the Las Vegas Raiders.
The Raiders need leadership in the secondary in the worst way. Peterson turns 31 in July and has made $94 million, so maybe team fit and contention will be most important to him.
Fowler also said to keep an eye out for Tampa Bay, as Peterson’s former head coach Bruce Arians and defensive coordinator Todd Bowles are fresh off a victory in Super Bowl LV.
Peterson has recorded 28 interceptions and 91 passes defended since being selected fifth overall by the cardinals in the 2011 draft.
According to Pro Football Focus, Peterson posted a 53.1 coverage grade last season, his worst since his rookie year. Peterson also led the league in penalties with 12.
Peterson still recorded 61 tackles and three interceptions last season despite his struggles.