Although the Arizona Cardinals have insisted that they have no plans to trade Patrick Peterson this year, it appears the All-Pro cornerback might be attempting to force their hand.
CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora has reported that Peterson is unhappy with the "state of the franchise" in Arizona and that he's asked the team to deal him before the NFL's trade deadline on Oct. 30. The report from La Canfora comes on the heels of a report he made earlier this month when he wrote that Cardinals would be open to the possibility of discussing a potential trade for Peterson.
Although the Cardinals have publicly insisted that trading Peterson is not in their plans, it would almost be foolish to keep him at this point. At 1-6, the 2018 season is already a lost one for the Cardinals and trading Peterson would allow them to build for the future.
The biggest upside for the Cardinals is that Peterson could potentially have a lot of value on the trade market. For one, it's not often that a three-time All-Pro corner becomes available in the middle of the season. Also, considering the current pay rate for a top level corner, Peterson is basically a bargain with his contract, which currently runs through 2020. Any team that acquires Peterson would only owe him $11 million in base salary for 2019 and $12.05 million for 2020.
Trading Peterson would give the Cardinals the chance to stockpile draft picks and build a team around rookie quarterback Josh Rosen.
Of course, any team trying pull off a trade would also have to take on a cap hit that comes with Peterson, which means a team would have to have roughly $6-7 million in free cap space to make a move.
Here's a look at five contenders who should think about going after Peterson.
1. Chiefs: It's a good thing that Chiefs have a high-flying offense, because right now, their defense isn't really built to stop anyone. Through seven weeks, the Chiefs are ranked 31st overall in the NFL in passing defense (They were actually ranked dead last before Sunday, but moved up one spot after holding the Bengals to just 174 passing yards). After trading away Marcus Peters during the offseason, adding Patrick Peterson to replace him would show that the Chiefs are serious about making a Super Bowl run.
2. Steelers: The Steelers secondary has struggled all season and a big reason for that is due to the play of Artie Burns. If the Steelers were to make a move for Peterson, they could pair him with Joe Haden, which would give them a formidable duo. The one issue for the Steelers in a possible trade would be the salary cap implications. Not only are the Steelers short on cap space, but they also have to deal with the return of Le'Veon Bell, which would eat into even more cap space. The Steelers would have to get creative to pull this off.
3. Eagles: The Eagles secondary hasn't been great this year and the addition of Peterson would instantly make it better. Although the Eagles have two decent starting corners in Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills, the easy way to fix that would be to include one of them in any potential trade with the Cardinals. The one big reason why the Eagles could be a threat to pull off this trade is because they have a ton of draft capital. As things stand now, the Eagles are scheduled to have 11 picks in the 2019 NFL Draft, which is currently the most of any team in the league. La Canfora has also reported that the Eagles are expected to be one of the NFL's most aggressive teams during this year's trade deadline.
4. Patriots: If a talented veteran is potentially becoming available, then we are automatically required to mention the Patriots on any list of teams that might acquire that veteran. After watching the Chiefs offense put up 40 points on the Patriots in Week 6, Bill Belichick might actually be open to adding a Pro Bowl corner. If the Patriots added Peterson, they could pair him with Stephon Gilmore, which would instantly give New England one of the top corner tandems in the NFL. According to Overt the Cap, the Patriots have the smallest amount of cap space of any team on this list with just $5.1 million, meaning they'd have to make a contract move or two to fit Peterson's contract under the cap.
5. Saints: We're putting the Saints and their 28th ranked passing defense here because they could definitely use Peterson. However, the odds of the Saints pulling off a trade are basically astronomical thanks to the salary-cap situation in New Orleans. The Saints have less than $2 million in cap space, which means they'd have to do some serious restructuring to pull off a Peterson trade. Of course, the thought of pairing Peterson with Marshon Lattimore might be enough to get them to at least think about trying to make a deal happen.
Apparently, Peterson also likes the idea of playing for the Saints. CBS Sports analyst Bryant McFadden tweeted on Monday that the Cardinals corner would actually prefer to play for New Orleans.
#Cardinals All-Pro CB @P2 ideal trade destination is the #Saints. Per source Patrick Peterson. #Whodat— Bryant McFadden (@BMac_SportsTalk) October 22, 2018
The Saints better get working on that salary cap situation if they want to add Peterson.