The Arizona Cardinals are going to have a potential quagmire and a half in the defensive back field. And not the kind of Quagmire that runs around Rhode Island yelling “Giggity, giggity,” either.
Let’s break it down and see what Arizona really needs.
Patrick Peterson is in the final year of his contract and could hold out during the offseason to try and get a new deal. We’ve seen reports from this time last month suggesting he might and then flipping to this ESPN report that says he’s not likely to do so.
Tyrann Mathieu is recovering from his torn ACL he suffered in December at home against St. Louis. He’s working on recovering but his availability for Week 1 is no certain thing.
Jerraud Powers and Justin Bethel are still under contract at the cornerback position. Bethel is more of a special teams ace and Powers was okay last season. Yet Powers is scheduled to make $4.75 million this coming season. The safety situation is a little better with Rashad Johnson under contract for 2014. After him it’s Mathieu, Curtis Taylor, Tony Jefferson and Ohrian Johnson. Jefferson saw limited playing time and made 23 tackles last season. The good news is that Arizona has the bodies for the position, unlike kicker.
If Mathieu can’t make it back for Week 1, Jefferson might get the starts over there opposite Johnson and he could get “picked on” by opposing quarterbacks. We don’t know what the schedule will be yet but we know there will be a game against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. You don’t want to be a defensive back running the risk of being picked on by Peyton.
A holdout by Peterson could be disastrous to the team and would be Armageddon to the defensive backs.
The situation has the chance to become very difficult at any time. This might be an issue to look at later in free agency since there is no real need to rush any moves in this position. Let the market dictate what the going rate is on defensive backs, There’s also the possibility that guys like Antoine Cason and Yeremiah Bell may come back in free agency. Both of them would help stabilize the position. There hasn’t been any indication as of now one way or the other on those players coming back in 2014.
Until something happens, the Arizona defensive backfield is in a state of flux.