NFL

The Arizona Cardinals Could Soon Say Goodbye to Their $12 Million Former All-Pro

The end could be approaching for Patrick Peterson in an Arizona Cardinals uniform.

Along with veteran receiver Larry Fitzgerald, the 30-year-old Peterson is one of the greatest players in Arizona Cardinals history. The fifth overall pick in 2011, Peterson has been a defensive stalwart and a ball-hawking cornerback for nearly a decade. 

Nothing is forever, though, and Peterson is set to hit free agency after the season. Are these the last few weeks of Peterson’s successful tenure in Arizona?

Patrick Peterson is an Arizona Cardinals legend

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The Arizona Cardinals took a risk drafting LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson with the fifth overall pick in 2011, if only because he was a defensive back going that high.

Peterson has more than proven the Cardinals right in selecting Peterson that early, especially with how bad the quarterbacks who followed him fared. Through Week 12 in the 2020 season, Peterson has 28 career interceptions and 12 recovered fumbles.

Peterson made eight Pro Bowls and earned first-team All-Pro honors three times in his first 10 seasons.

Arizona made the playoffs in consecutive seasons from 2014-15, but they haven’t been back since losing to Cam Newton and the Panthers in the 2015-16 NFC championship game.

Peterson had a 72-yard interception in the playoffs that year and has nine tackles in two career postseason games.

Peterson and the Cardinals could soon part ways

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Time is not being kind to Patrick Peterson, and the Arizona Cardinals have to have noticed.

According to Pro-Football-Reference, opposing quarterbacks have completed 35 of 53 passes for 456 yards and four touchdowns against Peterson in 11 games this season.

Peterson allowed 48 completions in 73 tries for 621 yards and four touchdowns in 10 games last year.

Peterson hasn’t been a total liability, and he already has three interceptions this season. The veteran cornerback only has one season with four or more interceptions: a seven-pick season in 2012, his second NFL campaign.

Where could Patrick Peterson play in 2021?

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Patrick Peterson and the Arizona Cardinals will have to start thinking about their long-term future soon.

Peterson is making $12 million this season, his final year under contract. The star cornerback signed a five-year, $70 million contract with the Cardinals in July 2014 and, according to Spotrac, has earned over $94 million in his career.

Arizona will have a tough decision to make in the offseason. Peterson is a beloved figure in Arizona, even after two drug-related suspensions, and one of the greatest players in franchise history.

Should the Cardinals bring Peterson back on a cheaper deal, or are they better off letting him walk? According to USA Today, Peterson recently said he’d be willing to move from cornerback to safety.

Arizona has several young safeties, including Budda Baker, and they may not have room for Peterson. If the Cardinals move on from Peterson, a reunion with ex-Arizona head coach Bruce Arians — who now coaches the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — could make sense.

All stats courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference. Contract figures courtesy of Spotrac.