Arizona Cardinals: Early Patrick Peterson Contract Analysis


Nov 24, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Patrick Peterson (21) dodges a tackle by Indianapolis Colts free safety Darius Butler (20) during the first half at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

In the spirit of the season that I’m currently writing this, I’m going to pre-maturely (Like the Christmas music that started a week before thanksgiving) analyze the contract situation of Patrick Peterson. In a synopsis it was reported that Peterson has fired his original agent and narrowed down the choices for his next representative. This news is relative not only because he is a Pro Bowler but also soon to be in the time frame of fielding contract extension offers from the Arizona Cardinals.

Thanksgiving passed yesterday but it’s never too late to be thankful for anything. For instance let us all be thankful that Peterson isn’t considering Jay-Z’s management company as of yet. Regarding today being the economic holiday called “Black Friday”, I have a feeling that if Peterson had an agent that Steve Keim could call today and inquire about a “Black Friday” deal he would.

None the less, an extension for Peterson this off-season is a priority for Keim. The management and business background I have doesn’t help me understand why it’s become a common courtesy to re-negotiate with players a year or more before the contract even expires, just like Peterson’s who isn’t up until after the 2014 season and has a club option for 2015. I suppose it’s a common courtesy to extend him a new contract and give the organization a relief of securing the commodity early.

Let’s start this process from GM Steve Keim’s theoretical stance. Patrick Peterson is a Pro Bowl Star and cornerstone of the defense who has single handedly won 3 games this season at the age of 23. It’s absolutely necessary to extend the 7th overall pick from a few years ago, especially after learning that under Coach Bruce Arians he is a offensive tool as well as defensive captain.  The challenge in lies balancing the budget unlike prior management hadn’t done. For example the inflated contract the Cardinals can’t honor with Larry Fitzgerald and will try to re-negotiate this off-season as well. How can Steve Keim re-sign Peterson to one of the highest paying contracts in history and not ruin the future of the team?

What about the new agent trying to make a splash and show his new client he made the right choice? Having a business history with the client’s general manager is important. What’s best for the client is also what’s best for you in most cases also applies to this scenario. I have faith that Peterson won’t hire a “wall street shark” to represent him as Peterson knows his value and the agent won’t have to work too hard or use dirty tactics to get a deal done. I believe Peterson knows the definition of fairness and will use it in negotiations.

Patrick Peterson has to be more content under the new management and coaching as the organization has shown him he is valued thus far. The new coaching staff has indulged him in allowing him to show off his abilities on both sides of the ball and let him have fun at his job. We all know Arizona is an ideal place to live and work and he was a face of the franchise the day he was drafted. This is all supported by a tweet released by Peterson soon after the release of his agent telling fans to have no fear, he’s not going anywhere.

As reassuring as it is, fans and management must be concerned about the financial constraints that may follow signing Peterson. Keep in mind the headaches and backlash from Joe Flacco’s inflated contract. It’s not ridiculous to start with already established contracts for the highest paid defenders in the NFL such as Mario Williams and Darelle Revis. The baseline for them is pretty much 6 years at 96 million dollars. Considering the age of Peterson and versatility the Cardinals are likely looking at 6 years at 100 million or more. The challenge is can it be structured to not grimly effect future transactions for the betterment of the team?

Patrick Peterson deserves to be the number one paid cornerback which is why I infer the numbers of Revis’ contract. He also will want guaranteed money just like Mario Williams got in Buffalo. Let’s start with the pitfalls of Williams deal. $50 million guaranteed which created more than $10 million of dead money for the Bills this year and the next. His individual cap hit is $18 million per season from 2014 to 2016. Regarding Revis’ contract it is evenly structured with no signing bonus due to the injured knee he was traded with. This would be an ideal format as its clear cut with a base salary of $13 Million per year and a cap hit of $16 Million per year.

If Steve Keim can find a common medium between these two contracts, and continue the financial savvy decisions he did this year-The Cardinals will get the player they need for another 6 years with no regret and the player gets what he deserves. (Per the standard of pay for athletes)

My attempt would like the following: 6 Years/ $102 Million- Base Salary of 10 million a season ($60M) plus a $25 million dollar bonus which gets us to $85 million. The guaranteed money over 6 seasons is 4 million a season which would be the only dead money if he were to not fulfill the contract for any reason. The remainder is 17 Million in low escalators in order to guarantee productivity on the field and get Peterson over the $100 million dollar mark which he is likely aiming for. The escalators divvied up over 6 seasons will equal 2.8 million totaling Peterson’s cap hit per year to be 16.8 million. ($800,000 more than Revis.) This style of contract protects the organization in various ways to include a set salary to ease future decisions unlike the undulating contracts like Fitzgerald’s, which will have to be addressed this off-season.