The news that broke back on March 17th did not come as a huge surprise to fans of the Arizona Cardinals. Patrick Peterson, the squad’s number-one cornerback, had reached an agreement with the Minnesota Vikings. The loss was not unexpected, but could Peterson’s departure come back to haunt the Arizona secondary?
At the moment, the Cards top three corners are Malcolm Butler, Byron Murphy and Robert Alford. That trio’s huge question mark is Alford, a veteran who has not performed in a regular-season matchup since December of 2018. With that in mind, many of the league’s experts believed that the Cardinals would look to address that concern by selecting a corner with one of their top two 2021 draft selections.
As we all know by now, that did not happen. Inside linebacker Zaven Collins went to the Redbirds with the 16th-overall choice, and wide receiver Rondale Moore was taken in round two. Now, as the team enters the month of May, a huge hole remains for the Cards at one of football’s most difficult positions to play.
It’s hard to argue with the fact that Peterson has lost a step. The 30-year old was burned by wide receivers last fall that he would’ve easily blanketed in years past. Peterson also appeared to shy away from tackling at times, a blatant no-no in the eyes of any defensive coordinator.
It wasn’t all bad for Peterson in 2020, however. During a week-six victory over the Seattle Seahawks, the 6’1, 203 pounder held the sensational D.K. Metcalf to 23 measly yards on just two receptions. Peterson posted solid numbers during the campaign as well, tallying 61 tackles, three interceptions and eight passes defensed in 16 starts for Arizona.
Peterson’s first foray into free agency certainly didn’t bear a huge amount of fruit. The Vikings handed the veteran $10 million on a one-year, “prove-it” type of contract. Since Peterson’s asking price was obviously not outlandish, you’d have to think that Keim could’ve found a way to keep the former LSU product with the Cardinals for at least one more season.
It now looks as if the Cards will have to go back to the free agent pool to solve the cornerback problem. A problem that quite possibly wouldn’t have existed if Keim could’ve come to some type of agreement with Peterson back in March. All the “Red Sea” can do now is hope that the general manager has a plan in place that will make this incredibly vital dilemma go away.