Patrick Peterson has been a fantastic cornerback, and punt returner, since the Arizona Cardinals drafted him with the fifth-overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. In only three seasons, he has 151 tackles, 12 interceptions and nine fumble recoveries. He also has returned 128 punts for 1,323 yards and scored four touchdowns. There was no doubt that he would inevitably receive a contract extension after cornerbacks Joe Haden, of the Cleveland Browns, and Richard Sherman, of the Seattle Seahawks received one earlier this year. The 'long' wait for Peterson finally ended on Tuesday night when him and the Cardinals agreed to a contract extension.
CB Patrick Peterson and Cardinals agree on 5-year extension with $48M guaranteed (most ever for a CB)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 30, 2014
Peterson's new contract makes him the highest paid cornerback in the league. His new contract surpasses Haden's five-year, $68 million contract and Sherman's four-year, $56 million contract. There will be some people that will say that the Cardinals should not have made Peterson the highest cornerback in the NFL. However, Peterson's excellent performance since he entered the league in 2011 showed why he deserved a 'huge' contract extension.
Critics of Peterson's new contract will be quick to point out his 91.3 NFL Rating, seven touchdowns allowed and only three interceptions last season. However, it is not fair to judge Peterson's success in the NFL on just his statistics. Unlike the Seahawks, who use a Cover-3 defense, the Cardinals use a Cover-1 defense. The difference between the Cover-3 and Cover-1 is the responsibility of the cornerbacks and free safeties:
"In a Cover-3 system, cornerbacks and free safeties divide the field into thirds and play zone coverage. In a Cover-1 system, which is found in Arizona, the corners play man-to-man coverage and rely on the strong safety and free safety to play deep," according to Neil Greenberg of The Washington Post.
This means that Peterson was matched up against an opposing team's number one wide receiver 55 percent of the time last season. Some of the number one wide receivers he faced last year in man-to-man coverage were Calvin Johnson, of the Detroit Lions, Vincent Jackson, of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Steve Smith, of the Carolina Panthers. Facing wide receivers like those three in man-to-man coverage is a daunting task for any cornerback, let alone a cornerback like Peterson who just turned 24-years-old on July 11. Peterson has managed to not only succeed in the NFL, but he has thrived.
Amazingly, he has already been named a member of the First-Team, All-Pro twice, 2011 and 2013, and he has been selected to play in three Pro Bowls. This includes his fantastic rookie year when he was a dominant punt returner. He was a force to be reckoned with as a punt returner during his rookie year when he returned 44 punts for 699 yards and scored four touchdowns. This led to him being a member of the First-Team, All-Pro and being selected to the Pro Bowl as a punt returner.
There is no doubt that Peterson is ecstatic with his new contract. He had wanted a new contract for a while and this is probably more than he could have ever dreamed of a few months ago. Peterson now has something else he will be focusing on this upcoming season and for the duration of his career:
''I want to be in the Hall of Fame someday,'' he said. ''I have bigger goals than a massive contract. I haven't been to the playoffs since I've been here. I had one winning season since I've been here. I want to bring a championship to this city, to this organization. I want to hoist that Lombardi Trophy,'' according to Bob Baum- AP Sports Writer.
Be sure to like us on Facebook at NFL Draft Insiders for all your NFL and College football news and information daily.