Domata Peko will be in line to play a 15th NFL season. The Cardinals hosted the defensive lineman on a visit this week and have come to terms on a deal, according to agent David Canter (on Twitter).
The longtime starter has begun going through COVID-19 protocols with the Cardinals and would be eligible to practice ahead of the team’s Week 12 game. Peko would represent a vital reinforcement for a Cardinals team that now has five defensive linemen on IR.
A starter for the Bengals and Broncos, Peko played eight games with the Ravens last season. The soon-to-be 36-year-old defender has made 189 NFL starts. Peko will reunite with Cardinals DC Vance Joseph, who was the Broncos’ head coach during each of the nose tackle’s two seasons in Denver. Joseph was also with the Bengals during part of Peko’s 11-year Cincinnati stay.
Exiting the NFL’s midway point, the NFC West serves as arguably the league’s most compelling division. Although injuries have made the 49ers’ road back to the playoffs exceedingly difficult, the division’s other three teams are surefire contenders.
The Cardinals’ re-emergence has created a crowded competition. Arizona, Los Angeles and Seattle enter Week 11 at 6-3. These three teams have four more combined games against one another, beginning with Thursday night’s Cards-Seahawks rematch.
This season’s top play thus far — the Kyler Murray-to-DeAndre Hopkins game-winner over the Bills — spotlighted the primary reasons behind the Cardinals’ resurgence. They have now beaten two winning teams — Seattle and Buffalo — and rank in the top 10 both scoring and points allowed. Their plus-56 differential leads the division, one this franchise has only won twice (in 2008 and ’15).
Through nine games, Murray has accounted for 27 touchdowns (10 rushing); that is more than unanimous 2019 MVP Lamar Jackson had at this time last season. Providing a predictably strong early return on the Cards-Texans March trade, Hopkins ranks second in the NFL with 861 receiving yards. Arizona’s defense, however, enters Week 11 with five D-linemen on IR — including big-ticket offseason signing Jordan Phillips. Chandler Jones also residing on IR will make matters tougher on Vance Joseph‘s unit in the second half.
The Rams have shown plenty defensively this season; the unit has powered their 6-3 start. Hired after stays as the Bears and Broncos’ outside linebackers coach, Brandon Staley has the Aaron Donald– and Jalen Ramsey-led unit standing second in points allowed. Staley’s troops held Russell Wilson without a touchdown pass and forced him to commit three turnovers Sunday.
Los Angeles also has one of this year’s top-graded offensive lines, though that unit stands to take a hit after Andrew Whitworth‘s knee ligament tears. Jared Goff‘s 25th-ranked QBR figure, however, threatens to impede the Rams from their third division title in four years. The Rams and Cardinals do not play until Week 13.
Seattle is 1-2 in divisional play, holding that mark after a near-70-minute loss in Arizona and Week 10 defeat in L.A. Wilson has lost the MVP lead, per Las Vegas, to Patrick Mahomes and lacks the defensive support Goff and Murray are receiving. The Seahawks enter Week 11 ranked last in yards allowed. Although their maligned pass rush sacked Josh Allen seven times, that game still included 415 passing yards from the Bills quarterback. While Wilson has thrown a league-high 28 touchdown passes and is on track smash his career-high figure (35 in 2018), Seattle’s soon-to-be 32-year-old superstar passer has also turned the ball over 10 times in the team’s three losses.
The 49ers have a somewhat one-sided win over the Rams on their resume, but the defending NFC champions are 4-6. “Decimated” may be too light of a descriptor to illustrate San Francisco’s injury situation.
The new seven-team playoff bracket will make it easier for the NFC West to send three teams to the playoffs. But which of these teams will have the highest seed and the playoff “home” game?
Vote in PFR’s latest poll (link for app users) and weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section.
More trouble for Arizona’s defensive line. The Cardinals placed big-ticket free agency addition Jordan Phillips on IR on Thursday. He will join Corey Peters as D-linemen on the Cards’ injured list.
Phillips is battling a hamstring injury that caused him to miss Week 9. He will be out until Week 14 because of Thursday’s transaction, and the Cards are certainly set to be thin on their defensive front against the Seahawks. Peters is out for the season.
The Cards promoted defensive lineman Michael Dogbe from their practice squad but are still down Peters, Phillips and Zach Allen up front. Five Cards D-linemen in total are on IR. Considering Chandler Jones is also out, the Cardinals are down most of the players they intended to have rush quarterbacks at the season’s outset. They have turned to former off-ball linebacker Haason Reddick as an edge player as a result, and the team reacquired Markus Golden from the Giants to help out.
Phillips signed a three-year, $30MM deal to come over from Buffalo in March. He has not quite flashed his contract-year form, registering two sacks and three QB hits this season. In 2019, Phillips posted a Bills-best 9.5 sacks and 16 QB hits.
The Cardinals also promoted D.J. Foster. The veteran running back has seen action as a practice squad promotion a few times this season. Tight end Evan Baylis and linebacker Reggie Walker will rise to the active roster as well.
Free agent defensive tackle Domata Peko met with the Cardinals this week, per the league’s official workout sheet. Peko reportedly turned down several offers over the summer with a focus on finding the “right fit, city, and chance to win.” Now, he may find that opportunity with the 6-3 Cardinals as a fill-in for Corey Peters.
If signed, Peko would suit up for his 15th NFL season. The 35-year-old has 208 games of NFL experience to his credit and a reputation as a reliable run-stuffer. Even if he’s only asked to play on early, obvious run downs, he could be a key contributor for the Cardinals as they make their playoff push.
After 11 years with the Bengals, Peko spent 2017-18 with the Broncos before latching on with the Ravens last November. He appeared in seven games and made three starts for Baltimore in the regular season while racking up 14 tackles. Peko has been a rock throughout his career, missing only seven games since coming into the league as a 2006 fourth-round pick. Among pure defensive tackles, Peko’s 189 career starts rank the NFL’s all-time top ten.
After DeAndre Hopkins‘ unbelievable touchdown grab to beat the Bills, the Cardinals will look to keep the momentum going tonight against the Seahawks.
Cardinals defensive tackle Corey Peters will miss the rest of the year, per a club announcement. Peters has started nearly every game for the Cardinals over the past five years. Now, he’ll focus on 2021 as he rehabs from a torn patellar tendon.
Recuperating from a knee injury is never easy, but it might be especially challenging for Peters at the age of 32. Also, on a personal level, the timing is less than ideal. The veteran is in the final season of his three-year, $12MM deal with the Cardinals and he won’t be negotiating from a position of strength as he seeks his next contract.
Peters, who will turn 33 over the summer, has started 121 games over the course of his ten-year career. The first half of his NFL journey was spent with the Falcons where he enjoyed some solid seasons, including a 2013 season in which he notched five sacks from the interior. A team captain, Peters has been a rock against the run for Arizona ever since joining the team in 2016.
The Cardinals — sans Peters — will take on the Seahawks in Seattle this week.
Three years ago, Larry Fitzgerald was thought to be on his farewell tour. That, of course, was not the case. The Cardinals inked the legendary wide receiver to a new one-year extension worth $11MM, tying him to the team for at least one more year.
Fitzgerald was considering retirement, but the Cardinals talked him out of it with this re-up, which included a no-trade clause. It wasn’t necessarily an easy decision for the vet, who could have left on a high note. At the time of the deal, Fitzgerald led the NFC with 60 catches and was on pace for well over 1,000 yards. No player in league history ever registered more than 100 catches and 1,000 yards in an age-34 season — Fitzgerald did it with ease.
The deal didn’t necessarily guarantee that Fitzgerald would play in 2018 — it merely put the ball in his court. Fitzgerald went on to play and suit up for every game, matching kicker Jim Bakken for the most regular season games played in Cardinals history with 234. He also captured his eleventh career Pro Bowl nod and leapfrogged tight end Tony Gonzalez for second all-time in NFL receptions, behind Jerry Rice. Fitzgerald didn’t stop there — he’s now eclipsed Randy Mossand Terrell Owens on the all-time list with 17,000+ receiving yards. Once again, only Rice (22,895) tops him.
Fitzgerald is still doing his thing at the age of 37 and he’s still not quite ready to commit to retirement. What would it take for one of the league’s all-time legends to call it quits?
“You wouldn’t see me around here anymore if [we win the Super Bowl this year],”Fitzgerald said in September. “Another catch, another touchdown, another yard is not going to make more whatever – my legacy is pretty much cemented. I just want to win a championship, I want to compete for a division title. Those are the things that are important to me.”
The Panthers were going to land Stevens as an UDFA back in April before the Saints snagged him in the seventh-round. He was recently cut from New Orleans’ practice squad last week. Stevens is a diverse athlete who played a Taysom Hill-esque role at Penn State before transferring to Mississippi State for the 2019 college season. His signing could be an indication the Panthers are worried about Teddy Bridgewater‘s status for Sunday, but since they had previous reported interest in Stevens it could be completely unrelated.
In one of the more unfortunate post-extension-signing performances in NFL history (we’re assuming, considering the specificity of that statement), Carson Palmer tore his ACL shortly after inking an extension six years ago. We know, we know…Palmer officially inked his new deal on November 7th, and he subsequently suffered the injury on November 9th. However, on November 10th, 2014, we learned of the quarterback’s official diagnosis (head coach BruceArians also acknowledged that Palmer was heading to the IR) and (in a cruel twist) the full details of the extension. So, for the sake of this series, we’ll say this qualifies.
The story really begins in 2013. Following a three-year stint with the Bengals and Raiders that saw him go 12-27, Palmer was traded to the Cardinals for a few late-round picks. The former first-overall pick overcome a tough start to the season and finished the campaign with a 7-2 record in his final nine contests. In total, Palmer completed 63.3-percent of his passes for 4,274 yards and 24 touchdowns.
Palmer looked like a potential MVP candidate during the early part of the 2014 season. He threw for 11 touchdowns vs. only three interceptions and won each of his six games as a starter, and that proved to be enough to warrant an extension from the Cardinals front office. So, on November 7th, 2014, Palmer inked a lucrative three-year, $49.5MM deal, including a bit more than $20M in guaranteed money.
You probably already know what happens next. A few days after inking his extension, Palmer suffered an ACL tear in a win over the Rams. With Drew Stanton inserted into the lineup, the Cardinals went 3-4 the rest of the way, and they lost to the Panthers in the first round of the playoffs.
Fortunately, the story has a somewhat happy ending. Palmer returned to appear in all 16 games in 2015, earning his first Pro Bowl nod in nine years and finishing tied for second (with Tom Brady, behind Cam Newton) in MVP voting. The veteran also set career-highs in passing yards (4,671) and touchdown passes (35) while leading the Cardinals to a 13-3 record. Palmer ended up having a brutal game in an NFC Championship loss that postseason, but it was still a remarkable comeback for the quarterback.
Palmer spent two more seasons with Arizona before hanging up his cleats in 2018. Ultimately, this proved to be a solid ending to a story that got temporarily sidetracked six years ago today.