The six-month long negotiations that began at the end of the 2013 season came to end Tuesday night as Peterson became the first member of the 2011 NFL Draft class and the first player since the NFL changed its rookie wage scale to sign a new contract.
Cam Newton, A.J. Green, Robert Quinn and Von Miller among others should be up next.
Peterson signed a five-year extension for $70 million and $48 million guaranteed. The market for elite cornerbacks has pretty much been established this offseason at $13-14 million per year as Richard Sherman signed a four-year $57.5 million extension and Joe Haden signed a five-year $68 million extension.
This is completely warranted in my opinion though as in the extremely pass happy NFL of today, where almost all rules and regulations favor the offensive player, the cornerback position is the without question the second most important position in football behind the quarterback position.
Although a record $70 million seems like a steep price for cornerback, if there is one man who warrants it in the NFL it is Patrick Peterson (yes I said one man).
Peterson is only 24 years of age, meaning when this contract ends he will be 29 and presumably still in the prime of his career and potentially at his apex.
He is still a work in progress and can rely on his freak athleticism too much at times, but he has the potential to develop into the NFL’s version of a “five-tool” player with elite size, speed, athleticism, coverage skills and tackling ability for a cornerback. He could be the next Deion Sanders without the prima donna attitude and off the field struggles.
In three seasons in the NFL Peterson has made three Pro Bowls, and one First-Team All-Pro. By comparison, Larry Fitzgerald had made only one Pro Bowl by the age of 24.
Peterson is also a quite leader, hard worker and consummate professional who has always believed himself to be an “old soul” and was married at the age of 22.
Although he may not be the globe traveler, NFL ambassador, social media maven and generally outgoing and vibrant personality that Larry Fitzgerald is he appears to be every bit the leader and respected by his peers in the locker room as Fitzgerald.
Here are some tweets from fellow Cardinals about his new contract:
Darnell Dockett: “Congrats to my brother @RealPeterson21 well deserve best corner in the NFL…. “
Tyrann Mathieu: “Congrats to my brother @RealPeterson21 nobody more deserving than him. Great person and great professional !!! All blessings bro 70mil”
Adrian Wilson: “Oh yeah @RealPeterson21 is the first player from the 2011 draft class to get a extension. Does that say something”
Justin Bethel: “Big congrats to my boy @RealPeterson21 on his new deal. He deserves every penny.”
Being a trendsetter for the incredibly elite 2011 draft class which has already contributed a number of superstars, bodes well for the Cardinals management’s perception from players across the league and establishes Keim, who is already known for his savvy one year “prove it” deals, (See: Karlos Dansby and Antonio Cromartie) as someone who takes care of his stars as well if they deserve it.
It also adds some positive vibes and erases one of many distractions currently afflicting the team this offseason including the Daryl Washington suspension and now John Abraham’s DUI.
This deal solidifies Peterson, quite possibly the most talented secondary player in the NFL, as the face and leader of the Cardinals defense for years to come.
He is a rare talent of the Darrelle Revis ilk who you can put on a one-on-one island with an elite receiver in the NFL and depend on him to get the job done. According to Pro Football Focus, he guarded the other team’s no. 1 receiver 55 percent of the time last season.
This new deal, although pricey, can only be seen as huge positive for the Cardinals moving forward as they compete in the increasingly competitive NFC West.