In football, a young, talented, charismatic lockdown cornerback might just be atop that list. The Arizona Cardinals showed Patrick Peterson how much they thought he was worth Tuesday night. Peterson tweeted that he and the Cardinals had agreed on a five-year extension worth $70 million which included $48 million guaranteed.
Apparently, the future costs a lot.
In Peterson, the Cardinals have the player they can build a franchise around for the foreseeable future.
With the NFL primarily a passing league these days, having a cornerback who has shutdown capabilities and isn’t afraid of an offense’s primary target each week is worth his weight in dollars – millions of them. According to Pro Football Focus, Peterson covered an offense’s No. 1 receiver 55 percent of the time. He may have allowed more completions and touchdowns than Arizona would’ve liked, but when Peterson’s responsible for the top pass catcher on the field at all times, his job is harder than the average defensive back.
Peterson’s versatility helped establish his name. He was one of the league’s top punt returners before he was battling Richard Sherman on twitter for cornerback supremacy. His four touchdown returns as a rookie tied an NFL record. Last season, he added offense to the repertoire.
Then there’s the fact he’s an athletic freak. He’s big enough to jam and press at the line of scrimmage but he’s fast enough to turn and run. And he can jump, too. On the field, there was no doubt Peterson was worth the money Cardinals president Michael Bidwill spent to keep him home.
Imagine a talent like Peterson on the open market? Arizona wouldn’t have been able to compete if teams in the league’s premier markets started bidding on his talents.
But there’s more to Peterson becoming a cornerstone of an organization than his performance on the field. For the past 11 years, the Cardinals have watched Larry Fitzgerald become the face of the Cardinals. He was a young star like Peterson but by time Fitzgerald turned 24 – how old Peterson is today – his resume wasn’t comparable. Fitzgerald made just one Pro Bowl but wasn’t an All-Pro by his 24th birthday. And he evolved into the respected figure he is today in his mid-20s.
Peterson, who turned 24 in July, has the football resume and the personality to take the reins from Fitzgerald as the face of the Cardinals when the time calls for it. And clearly the Cardinals’ front office sees that. Peterson has become a voice for the locker room, a leader whose maturity speaks for itself. On Tuesday, he spoke about the John Abraham situation with the poise of a seasoned veteran. It’s fitting that he’s been described as old soul. He was married at 22.
For a family-run franchise like the Cardinals, paying Peterson was an investment in their future. But even Arizona realized it’s time to protect its money. As negotiations between the Cardinals and Peterson’s team heated up behind the scenes this week, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians announced Peterson’s days as an offensive weapon were over and his time as a punt returner would be limited to special appearances. There was too much risk involved for $70 million.
But the largest cornerback contract ever doesn’t mean he’s the best cornerback ever. There’s still work to be done. He gets beat more than he should. He relies on his athleticism and speed over fundamentals more than he should. He could study more and get his hands on more balls, Arians has said.
Peterson doesn’t seem to be the type of man who’ll take his foot off the pedal because he got paid. He’ll tell you himself that he’s a football junkie.
Even though he spent most of the summer unsure when a deal would get done, Peterson knew one thing: he was worth more than Richard Sherman, who, for a short time had the richest cornerback contract in history.
Now, the Cardinals know it, too.
The Arizona Cardinals have agreed with Patrick Peterson on a five-year contract extension, a deal the Pro Bowler said Tuesday night is worth $70 million with $48 million guaranteed, which makes him the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL.
The team announced the extension, which will keep Peterson under contract through 2020, without specifying the pay.
Peterson followed up on Twitter:
• He’s been one of the talks of camp, but Michael Floyd put his offseason improvement on display Tuesday. On one pass, Floyd got a step behind cornerback Patrick Peterson for a touchdown that sailed in just beyond Peterson’s reach. Floyd then hauled in another score over cornerback Justin Bethel. Earlier Tuesday, quarterback Carson Palmer praised Floyd’s size and his ability to overpower cornerbacks, which was the case Tuesday. Bethel is listed as 6-0 and Peterson 6-1, but Floyd played taller and bigger than the 6-2, 220 pounds he’s listed as.
• Arizona got a look at a few backups that were called upon in a pinch. With RB Andre Ellington (neck) and CB Antonio Cromartie (pectoral) out Tuesday, RB Stepfan Taylor and CB Jerraud Powers were inserted into their respective first-team spots. NT Christian Tupou (groin), who was already replacing Dan Williams, was replaced by a combination of players, including Anthony McCloud.
≺ Taylor filling in for Ellington was telling in terms of the battle for the second running back job. It’s between Taylor and Jonathan Dwyer, but with head coach Bruce Arians’ decision to run Taylor with the starters, it appears that he’s leading the backup running back race. The importance of winning the second spot this year is greater than past years because of Arians’ decision to use more two-back sets.
• Arians got what he wanted when it came to adding speed to the offense. On at least two occasions, Ted Ginn and John Brown had to slow down to haul in a Carson Palmer pass. That speed could be a blessing and a curse. Last season, Palmer had a knack for slightly underthrowing receivers, forcing them to come back for passes. Ginn and Brown will have to learn how to time their runs perfectly with Palmer’s passes.
• Rookie safety Deone Bucannon secured an interception that got the crowd riled up.
• Rookie kicker Chandler Catanzaro, who Arians praised Tuesday morning for being perfect through camp, missed three kicks in row during the afternoon practice. The three he missed were end-over-end kicks, different from his regular kicks. By my count, Catanzaro went 7-for-10, missing field goals from 41, 47 and 48 yards.
• After Catanzaro came off the field, special teams coordinator Amos Jones pulled his young kicker off to the side for a short talk near a water cooler. By Catanzaro’s body language, it was clear he wasn’t happy with himself.
- Arians said CB Antonio Cromartie will miss four to five days with a pectoral injury. RB Andre Ellington (neck), LB Ernie Sims (back), DT Christian Tupou (groin) and CB Todd Washington (groin) will miss Tuesdays practice.
- When asked whether John Abraham’s DUI in June is the reason the Pro Bowl linebacker isn’t in training camp, Arians said, “No comment.” But Arians said he has known about it and was in Georgia at the time of Abraham’s arrest.
- Arians said rookie WR John Brown looked as fast in pads as he does out of them: “He doesn’t look like he has them on.”
- Rookie S Deone Bucannon laid down some hard hits in Monday’s first practice in pads, but it didn’t impress Arians. “He was trying to show off a little bit. Tried to show that he’s a tough guy. We know that he’s a tough guy.” Arians also pointed out that if Bucannon had been flagged for any of his hits, the offense would’ve end up with prime field position. Arians called the hits “stupid.”
- Arians was impressed with LB Sam Acho and said G Jonathan Cooper, both of whom were injured last season.
- LB Lorenzo Alexander will remain at inside linebacker, Arians said.
- With Arizona’s top two nose tackles out with injuries, Arians said he’ll rotate in players with the first team, including rookie Ed Stinson.
- The kicking rotation during practice will consist of two kickers every day while the third rests.
- Arians said rookie LB Glenn Carson and T Bradley Sowell are working as the Cards’ backup long snappers.
An officer found Arizona Cardinals Pro Bowl linebacker John Abraham passed out behind the wheel of his black Dodge Challenger at around 4 p.m. ET June 29 at an intersection in an Atlanta suburb after he had left the Pink Pony strip club, according to a police report.
More details about Abraham's arrest on a DUI charge emerged Tuesday, including that it took the officer several minutes to wake Abraham, whose speech was "very mumbled" and at times slurred, according to the report.
Abraham appeared confused and "rambled while speaking," the officer wrote in the report.
Abraham said he had two drinks and told officers at the scene that he had been waiting on someone to pick him up, but the person never arrived. He also said he didn't feel safe to drive and didn't want to drive, according to the report.
He failed a series of field sobriety tests, including the walking and balancing tests. Abraham also couldn't recite the alphabet from C to X, according to the report, and finally gave up. All of this led to his being arrested. After initially agreeing to a breath test, Abraham changed his mind and refused to take it, the report stated.
An officer took Abraham's South Carolina license, which was suspended.
When asked Tuesday whether Abraham's DUI in June is the reason the Pro Bowl linebacker isn't at training camp, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said: "No comment." But Arians said he has known about it and was in Georgia at the time of Abraham's arrest.
Cornerback Patrick Peterson said the Cardinals won't let Abraham's arrest become a distraction for the team.
“I’m not going through that stuff again,” Abraham told The Arizona Republic last August, referring to his Oct. 1, 2003, arrest on charges of driving while intoxicated. “It’s a bigger headache than it’s worth. I got mine one time, and one time is enough. It’s brought more pain than it did anything else. That one night of partying wasn’t worth all the things I had to go through.”
Sometime between then and June 29, he started again. Abraham was arrested on June 29 in suburban Atlanta on a charge of DUI, according to jail records. He was released five hours later after posting bail. After Abraham missed the Cardinals’ conditioning test Friday, coach Bruce Arians said he was excused for personal matters.
There’s a lot we don’t know, such as whether Abraham’s absence from camp is related to his arrest. We also don’t know the particulars of that Sunday afternoon in Georgia.
Abraham has yet to report to training camp. “He’ll be here whenever it’s cleared up,” Arians said Friday. “It’s nothing.”
It's not nothing. If Abraham is found guilty of DUI, he could be punished by the NFL under its personal conduct policy. It would be his second alcohol-related offense; the first came after the Hummer crash in New York. Depending on how Roger Goodell wants to view Abraham’s first offense, he could hand down a significant penalty. And the Cardinals know they can’t afford to lose another star linebacker.
Then there’s the question of what the team will do. When a rookie was charged with DUI last season, he was promptly cut, although the team said publicly that he was released because it wanted to upgrade the position.
Another Pro Bowl linebacker in trouble with the law and the NFL, Daryl Washington, remains a Cardinal. Salary-cap implications are in play with Washington, but Arizona wasn’t swift to come down with a hammer.
Maybe the Cardinals are letting Abraham sort things out and get a handle on what to do next.
“I’m 35 years old, I ain’t going to lie,” he told the Republic last training camp. “Yeah, I still drink. I still go out and have a good time. I don’t do drugs at all, but I won’t say I don’t drink.
“I’m not doing it now -- not during camp -- but when friends come to town, I’ll go out. It’s a controlled habit. It’s not that I have a problem. I know guys who have a problem. My dad was an alcoholic, and I know alcoholics.”
Hopefully, Abraham will learn from his latest arrest and make a change.
Winston, a 30-year-old right tackle, signed a one-year contract, a source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, confirming multiple reports.
Winston tweeted out the news that he was joining the defending Super Bowl champions on Tuesday morning.
Season finally starts for me today! Looking forward to chasing a ring with the Seahawks!! Time go to work!
- Eric Winston (@ericwinston) July 29, 2014
Winston played for the Arizona Cardinals last season. He was elected the NFLPA president earlier this year.
He said last week he didn't need to be promised a starting job but wanted the opportunity to compete for one. That's what Arizona offered last year, he said, and it worked out in his favor as Winston started all 16 games.
Winston, an eight-year veteran, has spent his offseason preparing for the right call by staying in shape. He worked out this summer with Texans receiver Andre Johnson and running back Arian Foster and former Texan Owen Daniels.
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Arizona Cardinals and Patrick Peterson’s agent, Joel Segal, are in “some pretty heated conversations,” according to the three-time Pro Bowler.
According to USA Today Sports, Peterson said he wants to stay in Arizona. Trying to make that happen is Segal and Cardinals general manager Steve Keim, who “are definitely working very hard trying to get something done,” Peterson said.
“We've made a concerted effort," Keim told USA Today. "We've been in negotiations. We've had some great talks with Joel Segal. We're going to stay aggressive.”
But if a deal isn’t struck by Week 1 of the regular season, when the Cardinals host the San Diego Chargers on “Monday Night Football,” Peterson said the discussions will be tabled until the offseason, according to the story.
In other news…
Pelissero talked with Cardinals coach Bruce Arians about a slew of topics, including cursing at officials.
Paola Boivin of AZCentral.com writes about John Brown’s enlightening trip to San Diego this summer.
Kent Somers of AZCentral.com writes about the Cards’ first practice with pads.
Bob McManaman of AZCentral.com writes about John Abraham being arrested for a DUI charge in Georgia in June.
Tyler Lockman of FoxSportsArizona.com writes about Abraham’s arrest.
Lockman also writes about Bobby Massie’s importance to the offensive line, and about Jonathan Cooper’s return to contact, and about practicing with pads.
Kyle Odegard of AZCardinals.com writes about Brown’s day in pads and the defense’s "mastermind."
Abraham has not reported to Cardinals training camp yet and has missed Friday's conditioning test and the first three days of practice. Coach Bruce Arians said Saturday and Sunday that Abraham's absence was excused and called the matter "personal."
It is unknown whether Abraham's absence from camp is related to his arrest.
According to court documents, Abraham was booked at 5 p.m. June 29 by the Brookhaven Police Department and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and "stopping, standing or parking prohibited in specified place." He was released at 10:05 that night on bond, according to the documents.
He was listed as 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds in the county's jail records -- about 40 pounds lighter than he's listed in the Cardinals' media guide.
AZCentral.com first reported the arrest.
In a statement released to the website, a Cardinals spokesman said the team is aware of the arrest but declined to comment further.
Abraham was arrested in 2012 in Atlanta on charges of obstruction and in 2003 on charges of driving while intoxicated.
He signed with the Cardinals on the first day of training camp in July 2013 and proceeded to tally 11.5 sacks. His 133.5 career sacks rank ninth on the all-time sacks list. He made his fifth Pro Bowl in 14 seasons, and his 53 tackles were his most since 2005.
- Another day, another injury. This time it was starting center Lyle Sendlein who was missing for the majority of practice. He suffered a left calf injury and was replaced by veteran offensive lineman Ted Larsen. Sendlein has been durable, missing just five games since his rookie season. Larsen is in his fifth season. Cardinals coach Bruce Arians will address Sendlein's injury Tuesday morning when he meets the media.
- One of the most asked questions leading into the first day with pads was whether or not John Brown would be as fast with pads on as he is without them? He answered that quickly, connecting with Drew Stanton for an 82-yard touchdown pass in which he outran safeties Rashad Johnson and Curtis Taylor.
- A day after announcing he wasn't playing offense anymore, cornerback Patrick Peterson began Monday's practice going through foot drills with the quarterbacks and running short goal line routes during their warm-ups.
- One of the lighter moments of practice came when punter Dave Zastudil hit tackle Kelvin Palmer for a touchdown pass on a fake field goal. The 6-foot-4, 290-pound Palmer went airborne for the pass over a defender and came down for the score.
- As the kicking competition continues, Jay Feely went 4-for-5 on Monday, making two kicks from 48 yards, and a kick from 45 and 46 while missing a 33-yarder. Danny Hrapmann made kicks from 33, 45 and 46 while missing a 48-yarder.
Whether the Cardinals' second-year defensive tackle feels like the attention is warranted or not, he was thrown into the spotlight when starting nose tackle Dan Williams left Sunday's practice with a swollen left knee. Williams is expected to miss Monday, as well, and with Alameda Ta'amu on the physically unable to perform list while he rehabs his repaired right knee, Tupou has been thrust onto the first team as its nose tackle.
So far through camp, Tupou's best has been good enough.
But Tupou needs to put the humility aside for a few days. At stake is a spot on a 53-man roster. Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said the opportunity to get reps with the first team allows Tupou to display what he can do.
"He's shown very well so far," Arians said. "That's another guy we want to see in pads. He's shown up. He's got everybody's attention."
It's been a long-time coming. Tupou was signed by the Chicago Bears out of Southern California as a free agent in 2013. He spent time in Chicago's training camp and on its practice squad before he was elevated to the 53-man roster last November. He spent about a month-and-a-half there and played five games, notching three tackles.
He spent the postseason and offseason bouncing around the league from Indianapolis to San Francisco to Arizona on May 16.
Tupou is just humbled to be in an NFL camp. He downplayed the opportunity he's been given and even thought he shouldn't even be talking to the media. And he's trying not to be starstruck when he looks to his right and sees Darnell Dockett in a three-point stance and Calais Campbell to his left.
"That's not what the game is about," Tupou said. "I'm just focused about being assignment perfect, doing my best."
He’ll be focused on the rookies and free agents added during the offseason. Keim mentioned guard Jonathan Cooper and linebacker Kevin Minter as two younger players he’ll keep eyes on. But one player Keim wants to watch play with pads is rookie wide receiver John Brown.
“He has been borderline dominating at times to the point where you really have to temper your enthusiasm, because I talk about how the pads have not come on yet, so now, how does [Brown] respond when he’s got two 6-foot plus corners in his face pressing him and rerouting him at the line of scrimmage?” Keim said on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “How’s he going to hold up for a smaller reliever going across the middle when [rookie safety] Deone Bucannon comes and wants to take his head off?”
Head coach Bruce Arians said Monday morning he’s anxious to see all the young players with pads on as well as a few veterans.
“When that noise level goes up, people change,” Arians said. “There’s a lot of guys that look really good in shorts and all of a sudden the noise level goes up and they disappear. Guys that don’t look very good in shorts all of a sudden they appear because they’re football players. That’s what you want to see. You want to see those guys rise up.”
There are a few guys I’ll be keeping tabs on when they’re in pads for the first time. Some overlap with Arians and Keim, some don’t.
Here are five Cardinals to watch for with pads on:
- John Brown, WR: He’s fast. There’s another way to put it, but fast without pads is very different than fast with pads. He’s been impressive thus far throughout offseason workouts and the first few days of camp but will that speed continue when he’s lugging shoulder pads? We’ll see.
- Jonathan Cooper, G: Coming off a broken leg, Cooper will be leaning on defenders for the first time at close to full speed since last preseason. We’ll see how far he’s come and how far – if any – he has to go. There are mental hurdles, however, that he needs to overcome so that first hit is important.
- Jared Veldheer, T: He’s massive out of pads but how big and intimidating will he be when they’re on? He played just five games last season, so this will be his first contact since he’s completely healed.
- John Carlson, TE: He has a long history of concussions and finished last season on injured reserve because of a concussion last December. He evaluated his health during the offseason, according to reports, and decided to continue playing.
- Kevin Minter, LB: He played just one defensive snap last year and enters training camp as the presumptive starter at inside linebacker. How will his thumper reputation translate to the field?
"We were very fortunate yesterday," Arians said. "We were way too active to be in shorts. I was holding my breath a little bit yesterday, but it was an outstanding practice."
• Arians said nose tackle Dan Williams will have an MRI on his swollen left knee. Williams is expected to miss Monday afternoon's practice.
• With pads being donned Monday, Arians won't limit how much his players hit. "With the limited time you can hit now, you can't hit enough, in my opinion."
• Arians said he hopes to keep four tight ends, but the rotation will be "more tailored to what they do best."
• Arians won't "baby" tight end John Carlson because of his history of concussions.
• When it comes to using fullbacks, Arians would rather use a versatile tight end than a true fullback because defenses can't prepare for a tight end that can play both positions as well as they can for a fullback.
• Quarterback Logan Thomas will get more snaps than Ryan Lindley in practice because he's newer, Arians said.
• Arians isn't a fan of training camp fights. He'd rather buy his players boxing gloves -- like Bear Bryant used to -- than see them break their hands. But Arians said he won't fine players for fights, he'll just "cut them."