If there is one thing I have intuited about Patrick Peterson it is that pretty much everything he does is carefully calculated.
When he was a rookie, I, like many of you, fell in love with Peterson. He was instantly the most electric punt returner on the planet. He was lightning in a bottle. The one frustration was that he was too handsy in press coverage and was drawing too many flags.
In year two, everything changed. Peterson had come to the conclusion that punt returning was no longer for him. Instead he focused on this cover techniques and he improved so quickly that he made the Pro Bowl, this time as a CB.
I am not sure of whether he had a deal with BA that he didn't have to tackle or that he could run out of bounds anytime he could, but during BA’s 5 years and in the midst of the “All or Nothing” fury—-Peterson made some embarrassing tackling efforts (or lack of efforts) and he never once took another punt return to the house—-or even came close.
Now—-mind you—-if there is anyone on the planet who is tailor made to to excel and dominate on STs, it’s PP21.
I thought he might become a little more aggressive after he signed his lucrative multi-year contract—-but—-no—-then his entire focus became locking down the best WR on the other team. And—-to PP’s credit—-he became the best press CB of his generation—-cover-wise.
Put Peterson on a stout defense where all he has to do is lock down a WR and he will be All-Universe.
But—-PP also spends a good deal of time listening to his critics. He is superb at self-promotion. This is why—-feeling indignant about being snubbed for the All Pro team this past year—-he went to the Pro Bowl on a mission—-to restore the luster in the PP star. And, of course, he did just that—-celebrating an end zone interception like he had just won the Super Bowl.
When Patrick Peterson sets his mind on something—-he is as fierce as they come!
When Steve Wilks was hired as the new head coach, my very first thought was wow—-what will this mean for Patrick Peterson? Knowing that Wilks likes his zone CBs to be thumpers, something was going to have to give.
Would it be Wilks or Peterson?
But, before Wilks was hired, Peterson had heard all of the noise about his shoddy tackling and he knew that if he could make a stronger effort in that department, he would enjoy a return to 1st Team All Pro in 2018.
To Peterson’s credit—-he has improved his effort and is making and assisting in more tackles. He’s even blitzing for the first time in 6 years. But, he still picks his spots. He also has been a liability on STs—-his penalties might be a calculation that the coaches should figure out for good that he really doesn’t belong on STs anymore.
Now—-today—-just when the Cardinals appear to be on rock bottom—-he and/or his agent gets the word out to Adam Schefter that Patrick Peterson “desperately” wants a trade.
It’s now one of the headlines at ESPN. Mission accomplished.
If I understand PP correctly—-and please feel free to tell me if i am wrong—-here is exactly what this means.
Number 1—-this is about money. Peterson saw first hand what just happened to Earl Thomas. PP knows that his current contract no longer is set at his market value and that the Cardinals are getting the better end of the stick. Everyone in the media is saying this—-that the Cardinals have Peterson for 2 1⁄2 more years at a bargain salary. How do you think that makes him feel? Especially now that he is being asked to tackle—-in Peterson’s mind that in itself should up the ante by millions.
Number 2—-this is about exposure. Peterson wants to showcase his talent on the big stage the way Deion Sanders used to do—-and not just this year at the lightly watched Pro Bowl. Peterson knows very well that if he goes to the Saints and they win a Super Bowl with him shutting down Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs, Brandon Cooks and Tyreek Hill or Josh Gordon along the way, he is going to become highest paid CB of all time. The time is NOW—-he’s 28—-and heading into his best 3-4 year window—-and he is very well preserved.
Number 3—-this is about a ring. Peterson has watched his golfing buddy Larry Fitzgerald agonize over missing out on a ring—-with Fitz only having one chance at winning it his entire 15 year career. Fitz has been the paragon of loyalty to a franchise that has never won a Super Bowl and has only appeared in one—-a game that Fitz nearly won for the Cardinals.
Peterson is cut from a different cloth.
In a business like the NFL—-no one can begrudge Patrick Peterson for wanting more money, more exposure and a ring (or two or three). He has the talent and the desire to make all of his NFL dreams come true.
Thus, this is where things get very sticky for the Cardinals.
Let me get right to the point—-I think the Cardinals should trade Peterson—-but I think Michael Bidwill should handle the entire matter just himself with the help of a trusted advisor of his choice.
Look—-if Bidwill holds PP hostage—-you just know PP is going to hold out this off-season for a new contract. It is going to get ugly.
One might say, but he can’t hold out, he has 2 years left. Don’t kid yourself. Earl Thomas has been clamoring for a new contract for two years—-look at Julio Jones—-Julio got his.
I say—-nip the ugly in the bud—-and open the bidding asap.
Michael Bidwill should perform the trade talks himself—-because—-with regard to the current state of flux in the Cardinals’ organization—-key decisions need to be made about the leadership (GM and Head Coach) in 2019.
Those decisions will be made in due time.
In the meantime, Bidwill should get very good value for Patrick Peterson—-or Bidwill won’t trade him.
Right now the Cardinals should pile up as many assets as they can. They can clear a ton of cap space for 2019 and, with the right plan, the Cardinals could be back knocking on the door of the playoffs with a year or two. Build the team around Josh Rosen, David Johnson, Chandler Jones and Budda Baker.
A prolonged dispute with Peterson is only going to put a damper and potentially an albatross around the neck of what needs to be a fresh new face for the organization moving forward.
Peterson’s mind is made up. He wants out. And the way Peterson’s mind works——he will get what he wants, one way or another. Which is fine—-as long as Michael Bidwill makes it a win-win for both parties.