Now that Super Bowl 55 is in the rearview mirror and put a bow on the 2020 season, there will be a lot of player movement news coming over the next few days and weeks. NFL free agency officially opens when the new league year begins March 17, but there will be plenty of leaks ahead of that date as to where players may sign, be traded, etc. Arizona Cardinals eight-time Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson is set for unrestricted free agency, and a report surfaced Monday that the Cards will not try to re-sign him.
The 30-year-old Peterson (31 in July) probably already is a lock for the Pro Football Hall of Fame even though his play has declined a fair amount the past couple of seasons. The former LSU star and No. 5 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft – chosen in between A.J. Green (to Bengals, also a free agent) and Julio Jones (to Falcons) -- was named to the Pro Bowl each of his first eight seasons, first-team All-Pro in 2011, '13 and '15 and a member of the NFL's 2010s All-Decade Team.
He has been durable, too. The only regular-season games Peterson missed in his career were in 2019 when he was suspended six games for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy.
This past season, Peterson had 61 tackles and three interceptions while allowing 50 receptions on 75 targets. He posted his worst coverage grade since his rookie year (55.2) and was tied for the NFL lead among defensive players in penalties with 10. Pro Football Focus ranks him as the 13th-best available free-agent cornerback and No. 71 player overall. PFF predicted that Arizona would bring back Peterson on a two-year, $25 million contract, but Monday's report obviously changes things.
There would certainly be a robust market for Peterson and already there are rumors that he could head back home and sign with the New Orleans Saints. Peterson surely will want to sign with a contender as he has yet to sniff a Super Bowl. Don't rule out the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Bucs, either, as Peterson played for coach Bruce Arians in Arizona and guys often line up (Rob Gronkowski, Leonard Fournette) to play with Tom Brady. The Cards just missed a wild card spot this past season, finishing 8-8 – they were 6-3 at one point.
William Hill Sportsbook lists Arizona at +4000 to win Super Bowl 56 in Los Angeles and +2000 to win the NFC. The SportsLine Projection Model currently forecasts the Cardinals for 8.8 wins next season and a 49.1 percent chance of reaching the playoffs.
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