Arizona acquired Peterson from the Saints in October for the price of a 2018 sixth-round pick, and installed him as its starting running back in the absence of superstar David Johnson. Peterson, who will turn 33 years old in March, managed 3.5 yards per carry on 129 rushes and scored twice in the desert. However, he was among the least effective backs in the league: Football Outsiders ranked Peterson 46th among 47 running backs in both DYAR and DVOA, metrics which measure overall and per-play value, respectively.
With Johnson expected back from injury in 2018, Peterson wouldn’t have been handling many carries, which makes his $2.881MM cap charge relatively untenable. The Cardinals’ new coaching staff may have also played a role in Peterson’s ouster, as former head coach Bruce Arians had said the future Hall of Famer would be part of Arizona’s 2018 plans. However, new head coach Steve Wilks and new offensive coordinator Mike McCoy may have had other ideas, and presumably believe they can find a cheaper — or more effective — backup running back.
Peterson has already stated that he intends to continue his career in 2018, so he’ll be looking for work after he hits the free agent market. While it may be a bit early to speculate on potential destinations, the Patriots, Seahawks, and Giants all expressed interest in Peterson before he signed with New Orleans last year. Additionally, the Ravens reportedly discussed trading for Peterson before the Saints shipped him to Arizona.
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