Arizona was staunch in not dealing All Pro corner Patrick Peterson despite the abundance of interest in him and the flailing team facing an inevitable rebuild, but they may come to regret it. League sources said several contenders were willing to offer substantially more than a first-round pick for Peterson and, had they held an auction before Tuesday's deadline, it is not out of the question they could have received multiple first-round picks for him.
Peterson was viewed as the crown jewel of this trade deadline and a true difference-maker who could put a contending team over the top. Several teams were prepared to move first- and second-round picks for him, sources said, and this was a full week ahead of the deadline. The Cowboys parting with a first-round pick for receiver Amari Cooper only strengthened the Cardinals' perceived trade leverage, and a bidding war could have erupted.
While Peterson eventually released a statement rescinding his trade demands and throwing his support behind the organization, the Cardinals will have much to prove this offseason to their best player and others. Peterson is signed at very team-friendly terms the next two years on the back end of his record-setting contract, making him incredibly attractive to other teams who will begin pursuing him again at the combine next year.
Whether or not the Cardinals end up making coaching or front office changes and how they finish the season will certainly be factors in whether or not Peterson ultimately does end up playing out his contract in Arizona. The development of rookie quarterback Josh Rosen will be watched closely, as well. While it is certain that Peterson is with the team for the duration of this season, a long and possibly defining offseason is ahead for a franchise that has put off a full-scale rebuild far longer than many expected to this point, and is facing a very uphill challenge in the NFC West.
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