As Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson wades deeper into the free agency pool, more and more is being unearthed as to where he would like to hang his hat in 2021.
One thing is clear: At this point in his career, the cornerback isn’t looking to be a part of a rebuild.
But while Peterson is focused on being a vital piece to a team’s defense, it’s the offensive side of the ball that’s peaked Peterson’s interest this offseason.
“I’d consider playing for anybody that has … a quarterback,” Peterson said on his All Things Covered podcast with Bryant McFadden. “If you don’t have a quarterback it’s going to be pretty difficult trying to win a football game, so whoever has a quarterback that can spin the rock and also collect enough wins to get in the playoffs. That gives us a shot to win it all.”
A few teams come to mind when taking into account Peterson’s evaluating criteria.
One is obviously the Cardinals, who continue to see the ascension of Kyler Murray as an NFL signal caller.
The QB showed he could hang with the best of them for most of the season, completing 67.2% of his throws for 3,971 yards and 26 touchdowns, all career highs.
He also set high marks in the running game, rushing for 819 yards and 11 touchdowns on 133 carries. Murray had 12 multi-touchdown games in 2020.
Peterson’s connections with former players and coaches make the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers intriguing landing spots for the cornerback as well.
Heading to Kansas City reunites Peterson with former LSU Tiger and Cardinal Tyrann Mathieu. From 2013-17, the duo combined to make four Pro Bowls thanks to stellar play in the secondary. And let’s not forget about Patrick Mahomes, who would give Peterson a three-time Pro Bowler that just took his team to back-to-back Super Bowls on the other side of the football.
As for the Buccaneers, that’s basically Arizona 2.0 with a coaching staff littered with former Cardinals. That includes head coach Bruce Arians, whom Peterson spent five seasons with, defensive coordinator Todd Bowles and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich.
In the two years (2013-14) with Bowles manning the Cardinals defense, Peterson started all 32 games, recording six interceptions, 20 passes defensed, one sack, 83 tackles and a QB hit. He also returned a pick for a touchdown. Peterson was selected to two Pro Bowls and was named a First-Team All-Pro in 2013.
The quarterback is established there, too, with Tom Brady coming off his NFL-leading seventh Super Bowl victory.
Quite a bit of maneuvering will need to happen for many NFL teams given the 2021 salary cap of $182.5 million, a much lower mark than last season’s $198.2 million. How that affects Peterson, whose market value is in the $10.4 million range, per Sportac.com, in a cash-strapped league remains to be seen.
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