Less than six months ago, the Cardinals were taking offers for their All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson. Is a trade still possible today and if it is, should the Dallas Cowboys be interested?
The Dallas Cowboys have painted themselves into a corner (so to speak) at the cornerback position. Gone is their the All-Pro Byron Jones who left in free agency. In comes…who exactly? Internal replacements for CB1 include Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, and Anthony Brown. All of them talented, but all of them coming off some very difficult seasons.
So while it’s possible one of them steps up into the now-vacated CB1 role, chances are the Dallas Cowboys will need to use an early pick in the draft to upgrade the top of their depth chart. Drafting for need is not a very powerful position to be in on draft day and historically leads to some pretty disastrous results. If Dallas wants to avoid this, they may want to look to the trade market to free them up in the 2020 NFL Draft.
The hottest name on the trade market last season was Arizona cornerback Patrick Peterson. The former All-Pro was coming off a six-game suspension and looking for a new deal. Rumors of discontentment grew and whether valid or not, Peterson’s name popped up in trade talk everywhere.
Adam Schefter reported the Cardinals received at least three calls before Peterson even took the field in Week 7 of 2019. And while the Arizona GM, Steve Keim, has repeatedly denied interest in trading his star cornerback, the offers continued to roll in. Even the Philadelphia Eagles got in on the bidding.
Obviously nothing happened at the deadline, which we assume means either the offers weren’t big enough or that Peterson really never was for sale. But could things have changed between last October and now? Could he be acquired if the price was right?
Patrick Peterson is in the last year of his deal. Scheduled to make $13,184,588 (per spotrac), it’s not a bad price for one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. But the soon-to-be 30-year old is coming off his worst season in years. After returning from suspension, he never quite looked himself. And now he’s seeking a new multi-year deal that will place him back in the top echelon of CBs. This is a pretty sticky situation for all parties.
While Keim again reiterated in February his desire to re-sign Peterson, no reported progress has been made on an extension. And after pointing out “he didn’t play up to expectations early on”, he may just be planning for Peterson to play out his deal. Once again, Peterson has popped up on trade lists all over the place this offseason.
If the Dallas Cowboys are serious about contending this season, they need to consider making an offer for Peterson. Even if it’s a one-year rental, there are no clear answers at CB1 for a Dallas team that may not even have an CB2 on the roster. Draft picks rarely hit the ground running at elite levels so even if the Cowboys’ dream comes true and C.J. Henderson (the No.2 rated CB in the draft) falls to them at Pick 17, he’s probably going to struggle early on in his career.
If the Cardinals really have no plan to pay Peterson like he wants, they may want to flip him now while they are still in rebuilding-mode. Or if Peterson gets the the feeling that he’s just getting lip-service from the Cards, he may demand a trade while his value is still high.
The problem for the Dallas Cowboys is two-fold:
- It’s about trade compensation
- and contract demands
Trading a first round pick isn’t an option. That’s far too costly for a player on the down-slope of his career. Draft picks aren’t just useful for adding talent, but they keep roster costs low. Trading a first or second round pick means you won’t have the cheap players available to populate your roster. It’s financially problematic and exactly what we explained in: Why Trading for Jamal Adams is a problem.
Now let’s say you do find a reasonable trade compensation to the Cards. You still have to re-sign him long-term because otherwise he’d just stay in Arizona, right? And if you’re willing to pay him what he wants (top CB money) why didn’t you just pay Byron Jones who’s three years younger and still an ascending talent? It’s hard to find a situation that makes sense for Patrick Peterson other than him just playing out his contract and hitting the free agent market next year. He can solidify his status with a good season of play in 2020 and can be had without draft pick compensation.
The only way this makes sense for Dallas is if Peterson can be acquired for a third round pick (or two) and won’t insist on a new deal right away. That would allow the Cowboys to fill the CB1 spot with ready-made player and let them kick the “cornerback can” to next offseason when they can either re-sign him, find a different free agent, or use the draft.
The Dallas Cowboys really need to address CB1 this offseason if they want to compete in the postseason in 2020. But it’s doubtful Patrick Peterson is an option for them given all the costs.