Are the new Arizona Cardinals free agents upgrades or setbacks
By Sion Fawkes
I was ecstatic when the Cardinals inked Malcolm Butler while they watched Patrick Peterson sign with the Minnesota Vikings. Peterson’s production, while still flashy at times, deteriorated over a two-season stretch, and PFF wasn’t shy about handing him a grade of 55.2, which ranked 83rd in the league.
On the other hand, Butler received a solid 71.6 grade, per his profile page on PFF. Sure, he may have led the league in catches allowed and in targets. But he was stuck on a poor Titans defense that ranked 20th or worse in almost every major statistical category.
And Butler’s advanced stats support the 71.6 grade. He allowed just an 83.2 quarterback rating, 10.9 yards per target, and a modest 6.9 yards per catch. He also tied for 3rd in the league with 4 interceptions and logged 14 pass breakups.
Butler will take over as the new CB1 in 2021. At least in the beginning unless the Cardinals draft a corner within the first two rounds and move him up the depth chart.
Upgrade: Yes: Butler played much better than his catches allowed and number of targets show. Given the low 6.9 yards allowed per catch, it also shows receivers didn’t do much damage. As for Peterson, his numbers told a different story, as he allowed a 98.2 quarterback rating in 2020.