Try picturing Patrick Peterson in any jersey other than that of the Arizona Cardinals. There's a reason it's challenging to conjure up that imagery in your mind, and it's because the future Hall of Fame cornerback has never once suited up for another club as he enters his 10th year in the NFL, having become a staple both on the Cardinals roster and in the surrounding community. It's possible that run comes to an end in 2021 though, that is unless he and the team come to terms on a new deal soon.
The problem is, with Week 1 now underway around the league, there are no contract talks scheduled -- per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network -- which sets the eight-time Pro Bowler on the path to unrestricted free agency in 2021.
"There's nothing I can do about it," Peterson said of the lack of negotiations. "I'm under contract until the end of the season. All I can do right now is play ball."
Despite the silence regarding his contract, the four-time First-Team All-Pro is still hopeful Arizona remains his NFL home after 2020.
"All I can do is worry about me," he added. "And when the time matches up perfectly, we can sit down and talk about some things."
A former fifth-overall pick of the Cardinals in 2011, Peterson became the gold standard at the position, and is still viewed as one of the best in the league. He's also been quite the ironman over the course of his career, having never missed a regular season start due to injury, in nine years of play. His only absence came in 2019, when he was suspended for the first six games of the season for violating the league's performance enhancement policy. He'd return to play in the remaining 10 games, delivering 53 combined tackles along with seven pass breakups, two interceptions and a forced fumble.
Peterson has 25 career INTs on his resume and even at the age of 30, is still a force in the defensive backfield. He's entering the final year of a five-year, $70.05 million contract that will pay him $12.05 million in base salary this season. With the team having now locked up defensive compatriot Buddha Baker and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins on new deals, all eyes turn to see what they'll do when it comes to Peterson.
For now, the answer is nothing, and only time can tell if that changes.