Patrick Peterson

NFC Notes: Peterson, Eagles, Thomas, Lions

Long regarded as one of this era’s best cornerbacks, Patrick Peterson has not been challenged to the degree of some of his peers in recent years. The Cardinals‘ top defender has just six interceptions over the past three seasons, and this has likely had some impact on his All-Pro status. Despite being viewed as a top-tier corner and having never missed a game, Peterson has made just one of the past three All-Pro first teams. The soon-to-be 28-year-old defender, though, sounds encouraged to be in the defensive system Steve Wilks and Al Holcomb have installed.

Very excited, ’cause I’m gonna be doing a lot of new things that I haven’t done in my career – in my NFL career,” Peterson said, via Katherine Fitzgerald of the Arizona Republic. “I’m just looking forward to getting back to my play-making ways because I believe over the last two and a half, three years, I’ve been kind of handcuffed in doing that, because obviously teams try to stay away from me. But now, coach Holcomb and coach Wilks are going do a great job of finding ways to install me into the game.”

Peterson still expects to follow receivers in the new scheme, but the Cardinals continue to feature a sizable talent gap between their No. 1 corner and his sidekicks. They traded for Jamar Taylor, who is now the favorite to start opposite Peterson, and employ third-year man Brandon Williams and former Panthers cog Bene Benwikere. But this cast might not be enough to deter quarterbacks from continuing to largely avoid Peterson.

Here’s the latest from the NFC:

  • Apparently, Earl ThomasCowboys fandom did not stop once he joined the Seahawks. The east Texas native has been connected to the Cowboys via trade throughout the offseason, and he seemed to light that fuse after the Seahawks’ Week 16 win in Dallas last season. Cliff Avril observed Thomas discuss watching Cowboys games as a fan while with the Seahawks, but it’s not like the since-released defensive end saw that affect the three-time All-Pro’s game. “Everyone in (the Seahawks’) locker room knows Earl loves the Cowboys,” Avril said during a Sirius XM Radio interview (Twitter link). “He’d leave immediately after work just to catch them play Monday Night Football. We didn’t take it too serious. Whatever team he dresses up for he’s gonna do his thing.” Thomas and the Seahawks remain at an impasse as the last remaining Legion of Boom bastion continues his holdout.
  • The Eagles will almost certainly waive seventh-round pick/rugby convert Jordan Mailata, Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com notes, before attempting to develop him on their practice squad. This figures to be a lengthy process attempting to convert the mammoth prospect into someone worthy of seeing time on Sundays.
  • Two of Mailata’s rookie peers have less certainty. Although Josh Sweat has looked the part of a future contributor, Shorr-Parks wonders if the Eagles’ depth at defensive end will induce a wink-wink IR stay that will allow the fourth-round pick to develop while off the 53-man roster. UDFA running back Josh Adams received one of the largest signing bonuses of any undrafted player this year at $25K, but he missed all of OTAs and minicamp with a foot injury and looks like a long shot to make the roster. Shorr-Parks expects an IR stay for Adams.
  • The additions of LeGarrette Blount and Kerryon Johnson will force either Zach Zenner or Dwayne Washington off the Lions‘ roster, barring an injury to a higher-regarded back, but Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com expects neither to be on the team come Week 1. Rothstein, though, views Ameer Abdullah as possible trade bait that would give either Zenner or Washington a way back onto the roster.

Cardinals, Patrick Peterson Rework Contract

The Cardinals converted approximately $3.17MM of Patrick Peterson‘s base salary into a signing bonus, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The move creates $2.5MM in 2016 cap space. Patrick Peterson

The Cardinals are near the bottom of the league in cap room and they needed a bit of a breather in the current year. We are past the trade deadline and there are no real premium free agents left on the board, but the Cardinals should now have enough space to make any minor signings that are necessary for the rest of the season.

Peterson is in the midst of a five-year, $70MM+ extension that was inked in the summer of 2014. That deal now stands as the third-highest in the league amongst cornerbacks in terms of total value and average salary per year. If the full contract is played out, the 26-year-old will not be eligible for free agency until after the 2020 season.

The cornerback got some good news this week when he learned that he did not suffer structural damage to his left knee. Peterson’s knee was hit by the cleat of Falcons receiver Julio Jones on Sunday. The incident was painful, but it doesn’t sound like he’ll miss any time as a result.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Anquan Boldin, Percy Harvin Contracts To Void

The contracts for wide receivers Anquan Boldin and Percy Harvin are set to void today, as Joel Corry of CBSSports.com details. While Boldin’s deal was technically set to run through the 2018 season, and Harvin’s ran through 2017, language in the contracts called for them to void five days after this year’s Super Bowl, so both players will officially become free agents next month.Anquan Boldin

Both contracts were designed to lessen the charges on the salary cap during the years when Boldin was a Niner and Harvin was a Bill. The void years allowed the 49ers and Bills, respectively, to spread signing bonus money across several years, rather than taking on larger charges in early seasons. San Francisco will carry about $2.73MM in dead money on its cap in 2016 for Boldin, while Buffalo will carry $2MM for Harvin.

In addition to being the date when those two contracts void, Friday also represents the day on which a handful of players will be assured of guaranteed money if they remain on their teams’ rosters. According to Corry, Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas will see his $8.5MM base salary for 2017 – which was initially guaranteed for injury only – become fully guaranteed without an offset today.

Two Cardinals players, cornerback Patrick Peterson and quarterback Carson Palmer, also get new guarantees added to their respective deals by remaining on the team’s roster through Friday. Peterson’s $9.75MM base salary for 2016 will become fully guaranteed, while Palmer will get a pair of guarantees — his $7.15MM salary for ’16 and a $6.35MM roster bonus due next month both become fully guaranteed.

The Seahawks will be another team to watch this weekend — Seattle has six players who will be assured of additional guarantees if they remain on the roster through Saturday, including Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman, and Earl Thomas.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2015 Salaries Guaranteed For Gronk, Others

In a week that has already featured a Super Bowl win and several days of celebrating that win, Rob Gronkowski gets some more good news today. As Joel Corry of CBSSports.com outlines, by remaining on the Patriots’ roster, the star tight end has his 2015 base salary ($4.75MM), along with his ’15 workout bonus ($250K), become fully guaranteed. When combined with the prorated portion of his signing bonus, the newly-guaranteed salary puts Gronk on the books for an $8.65MM cap hit for the coming season.

Gronkowski isn’t the only player whose 2015 salary becomes guaranteed today, as Corry writes. A pair of Cardinals have also locked in a 2015 pay day, as cornerback Patrick Peterson will have his $11.62MM base salary become fully guaranteed, while quarterback Carson Palmer will have his $1MM base salary and $9.5MM roster bonus (due March 12) become guaranteed. The duo will count for over $29MM on Arizona’s cap in 2015, assuming the team doesn’t rework either contract in the offseason.

Gronkowski, Peterson, and Palmer are the latest noteworthy players to have their salaries fully guaranteed for the 2015 season. Earlier this week, Drew Brees, Jimmy Graham, Joe Haden, and Gerald McCoy had their ’15 salaries guaranteed as well.

Extra Points: Jets, Peterson, Lynch, Gruden

Rex Ryan‘s Jets take a lot of heat but they have every right to be loud and express themselves, opines Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. Ryan’s Jets were at their best with the volume turned up to ear-splitting levels from 2009-2011 with trash talk coming from Bart Scott and Antonio Cromartie. While those two are gone, it’s clear that the swagger is back in East Rutherford, New Jersey. More out of the AFC and NFC East..

  • Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk has the full details of Patrick Peterson‘s extension with the Cardinals. Last night, Peterson became the first 2011 first-round pick to ink a contract extension, two years away from reaching free agency. Cowboys offensive tackle Tyron Smith became the second member of the 2011 class to ink an extension earlier today.
  • Peterson told Alex Flanagan of the NFL Network (Twitter links) that becoming the league’s highest-paid cornerback was a point of emphasis during negotiations and went so far as to say it was “very important” to have that title. The total new money in the five-year extension works out to $70.05MM, which is no coincidence. The extra $50K allows the Cardinals CB to edge out Seahawks star Richard Sherman as the highest paid corner in terms of average annual value.
  • In a piece for the National Football Post, former NFL agent Joel Corry offers up some solutions to Marshawn Lynch‘s holdout with the Seahawks. One of Corry’s ideas would be for Seattle to convert this year’s $500K rushing yards incentive into 2014 base salary, if not the entire $1MM in incentives for both years. The conversion would use $1 million of Seattle’s $7.55MM of existing salary cap room and if they wanted to spread out the cap hit over two years, the $1MM could be a signing bonus instead.
  • New Redskins coach Jay Gruden says the zone read option will remain a part of the playbook but how often it’ll be utilized remains to be seen, writes Tarik El-Bashir of CSNWashington.com.
  • Chiefs defensive back Ron Parker has overcome some long odds to reach the top spot on the team’s depth chart at his position, writes Vahe Gregorian of the Kansas City Star. The 26-year-old has been cut by three different NFL teams but has finally found a home in KC.
  • Albert Breer of NFL Network (on Twitter) hears that the big reason why the Titans didn’t pick up Jake Locker‘s option was the injury risk involved. Tennessee didn’t want to make a significant guarantee to the quarterback based on the last two years.

Cardinals, Peterson Agree To Extension

WEDNESDAY, 7:42am: In a pair of articles, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk passes along some additional details on the money in Peterson’s new deal. Per Florio, the total new money in the five-year extension works out to $70.05MM, meaning Peterson’s annual value of $14.01MM slightly edges Sherman’s $14MM, which is presumably not a coincidence.

As for the guaranteed money, Peterson gets a $15.3MM signing bonus, but it appears most of the rest of his $48MM guarantee is guaranteed for injury only now — it becomes fully guaranteed in chunks on the fifth day after the Super Bowl in 2015, 2016, and 2017.

TUESDAY, 10:50pm: Cornerback Patrick Peterson announced via Twitter that he has agreed to a five-year extension with the Cardinals. The deal can be worth as much as $70MM and includes $48MM in guaranteed money, according to Peterson. If those numbers are accurate, then Peterson has leapfrogged Richard Sherman as the league’s highest-paid cornerback."<strong

Peterson, who turned 24 earlier this month, hasn’t missed a game during his three years with the Cardinals so far, earning Pro Bowl nods in all three seasons, as well as a spot on the NFL’s All-Pro squad twice. The former fifth overall pick has exhibited a knack for big plays since entering the league in 2011, returning four punts for touchdowns in his rookie season and producing 21 career turnovers on defense (12 interceptions, nine fumble recoveries).

With the new multiyear pact, Peterson becomes the first 2011 first-round pick to ink a contract extension, two years away from reaching free agency. The Cardinals exercised their fifth-year option for 2015 on the standout cornerback earlier this offseason, ensuring that he was already on the books for a salary of $10.081MM in ’15, so presumably the extension adds five new seasons, locking him up through 2020. Those fifth-year options have reduced the leverage of 2011 first-rounders in contract talks, but as we heard earlier today from Peterson and GM Steve Keim, that didn’t stop either side from actively pursuing a new deal ahead of the 2014 season.

Sherman and fellow star cornerback Joe Haden secured new contracts of their own this year, making Peterson’s deal the third huge extension of the offseason for corners. Peterson doesn’t have quite the same track record of elite play as Sherman and Haden, as Pro Football Focus’ metrics (subscription required) show, but he has youth on his side, as well as that big-play ability, which earned him a deal in the same range.

Our own Luke Adams wrote in May that Peterson would look to get something similar to the $14MM annual salary Sherman got on his four-year extension while topping the $45MM in guaranteed money that Haden received on his five new years, and it seems the LSU product managed to do both — of course, on Haden’s contract, only about half of that $45MM was fully guaranteed, and I’d expect something similar for Peterson, so we’ll have to wait for the full details.

In any event, now that Peterson has opened the door for 2011 first-rounders to sign extensions, it’s possible we’ll see more new contracts signed by that draft class in the coming weeks. Teams still hold most of the leverage, but Peterson’s deal showed that rising stars can still do quite well for themselves two years away from free agency. J.J. Watt, Cam Newton, A.J. Green, Tyron Smith, and Robert Quinn are among the other big-name 2011 first-round picks that will be seeking large second contracts either this year or next.

Luke Adams contributed to this post. Rand Getlin of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link) reported earlier today that the Cards and Peterson were nearing agreement on a new deal. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Harbaugh, Peterson, Packers

Asked about Alex Boone‘s holdout and Vernon Davis‘ near-holdout, as well as his own contract situation, 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh took the opportunity to set the record straight regarding rumors about his deal with the Niners, in a conversation with Jason Cole of Bleacher Report.

“I signed my 10th contract in the National Football League in 2011, so I understand contracts,” Harbaugh said. “I understand how contracts work, and what they are there for. I also know that I work at the pleasure of the San Francisco 49ers organization and at the pleasure of the York Family. And I am paid extremely well – which I am most grateful for – and I am very proud to be part of this organization. For the record, I have never asked to be the highest-paid coach in football. I have never asked to be paid like a Super Bowl-winning coach. I have never asked for more power. Nor has anybody asked for those things on my behalf, which anybody in this organization can attest to, and all the focus will be on the 2014 season and achieving our goals of the team.”

Harbaugh’s comments seem to be directly reference an early-June report which suggested that contract talks between the Niners and their head coach had reached an impasse. While further discussions may still be on hold, it doesn’t sound as if Harbaugh is unhappy with his situation, which figures to be addressed after the 2014 season.

Here’s more from around the NFC:

  • Cardinals GM Steve Keim and cornerback Patrick Peterson both appear committed to working out a long-term extension sooner rather than later, with Keim indicating the team has had “great talks” with agent Joel Segal, and Peterson saying the two sides are in “pretty heated negotiations.” Still, as Tom Pelissero of USA Today writes, no template has been set yet for how to account for the 2015 options for 2011 first-rounders when negotiating their second contracts.
  • After speaking to “key people” within the Packers‘ organization, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com came away more convinced than ever that general manager Ted Thompson has no plans to retire anytime soon.
  • Peter King of TheMMQB.com takes a look at Jordan Gross’ somewhat surprising decision to retire after the 2013 season, and how the longtime Panthers tackle is transitioning into his post-playing career.
  • The Vikings are bringing in prominent criminal attorney Ted Wells, who headed the report on the Dolphins’ bullying scandal, to work on settlement talks for the Chris Kluwe investigation, a source tells Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Patrick Peterson, Cardinals Nearing Extension

4:29pm: Significant roadblocks still must be overcome before Peterson and the Cardinals strike a deal, but the two sides have made progress, a source tells Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic (Twitter link).

3:42pm: The Cardinals and Patrick Peterson are close to reaching an agreement on a new long-term contract for the cornerback, sources tell Rand Getlin of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link). Getlin adds (via Twitter) that there are still hurdles to clear before anything is official, but there’s a good chance the two sides will work something out soon.

Peterson, who turned 24 earlier this month, hasn’t missed a game during his three years with the Cardinals so far, earning Pro Bowl nods in all three seasons, as well as a spot on the NFL’s All-Pro squad twice. The former fifth overall pick has exhibited a knack for big plays since entering the league in 2011, returning four punts for touchdowns in his rookie season and producing 21 career turnovers on defense (12 interceptions, nine fumble recoveries).

If Peterson were to finalize a multiyear pact with Arizona, it would make him the first 2011 first-round pick to ink a contract extension, two years away reaching free agency. The Cardinals exercised their fifth-year option for 2015 on the standout cornerback earlier this offseason, ensuring that he’s already locked up for a salary of $10.081MM in ’15. Those fifth-year options have reduced the leverage of 2011 first-rounders in contract talks, but as we heard earlier today from Peterson and GM Steve Keim, it hasn’t stopped either side from actively pursuing a new deal ahead of the 2014 season.

Fellow star cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Joe Haden secured new contracts of their own this year, and as I wrote when I examined Peterson as an extension candidate in May, the LSU product will likely push to exceed the $14MM annual salary Sherman got on his four-year extension and the $22MM in fully guaranteed money that Haden received on his five new years.

Considering he’s still two years away from free agency and doesn’t have quite the same track record of elite play as Sherman and Haden, per Pro Football Focus’ metrics (subscription required), Peterson may be hard-pressed to top either player’s deal, but he has youth on his side, as well as his big-play ability. Any deal he signs should place him among the NFL’s highest-paid cornerbacks, albeit perhaps not at the very top of that list.

Cardinals Notes: Peterson, Massie, Fanaika

Cardinals’ star cornerback Patrick Peterson is preparing to reel in a huge payday with only two years left on his rookie contract, one of which is his fifth-year team option the Cardinals have already picked up. Peterson understands the situation, and is not letting it distract him from his job, according to Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com (via Twitter).

“Those guys are still talking. … I’m here to play football. I have 2 yrs left on my deal and I want to do the best I can to help this team win,” said Peterson. “I haven’t been to the playoffs since I’ve been here & that’s my 1st goal.”

Peterson said he is not unhappy with his contract situation at the moment, and that the new deal will happen when it happens (via Twitter).

Here are some other notes from around the Cardinals camp:

  • Head coach Bruce Arians said Peterson will not be used at all on offense this season, reports Kent Somers of AZCentral.com (via Twitter). Arians major reason for the declaration is that the team has more speed on the roster at wide receiver this year.
  • Peterson will also be relieved of his punt returning duties, according to Somers (via Twitter). Peterson says this will make him a better cornerback, and Somers notes that Peterson already claims to be the best.
  • Arians is also preparing to solidify his offensive line, noting that the right tackle job is Bobby Massie‘s to lose, reports Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com (via Twitter). He did add the disclaimer that the team hadn’t put pads on yet.
  • Arians also added that the right guard job is Paul Fanaika‘s to lose, according to Weinfuss (via Twitter).

NFC West Notes: Peterson, Seahawks, 49ers

The league’s current Collective Bargaining Agreement, which features fifth-year options for first-round picks, is ensuring that 2011 first-rounders will have a hard time securing contract extensions this year, writes Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic. As Somers notes, agent Joel Segal has discussed a new deal for Patrick Peterson with the Cardinals, but the two sides haven’t made significant progress. With two years still remaining on their rookie contracts thanks to those 2015 options, Peterson and his fellow 2011 first-rounders have little leverage at the moment, as teams aren’t feeling the pressure to offer anything but discounted deals.

Here’s more from around the NFC West:

  • The Seahawks have signed former University of Washington receiver Kevin Smith to fill the last spot on their 90-man roster, reports Adam Jude of the Seattle Times (via Twitter). Smith has bounced around among several teams over the last few weeks, having spent time with the Cardinals and Jaguars as well. He was cut by Jacksonville last week.
  • Bill Williamson of ESPN.com wasn’t surprised to hear the 49ers had Brandon Flowers in for a visit but he also wasn’t surprised that they couldn’t do enough to drag him away from the Chargers. Williamson thinks San Francisco will be fine going into the season with its current group of cornerbacks, but if another established CB becomes available, the team will investigate.
  • Former 49ers coach Mike Singletary wants Vernon Davis to talk it out with San Francisco brass, writes Cam Inman of the Mercury News. “I think one of the most important things for Vernon is to make sure that right now with all of the things that are out there – the negative media, however it is – the most important thing in any holdout is the communication,” Singletary said Tuesday on NFL Network’s Total Access.

Zach Links contributed to this post.