When Richard Sherman kindly announced the terms of his enormous contract extension, there had to be two opposing reactions in the NFL.
NFL teams with high-profile cornerbacks whose contracts are up soon cringed. High-profile cornerbacks and their agents might have done a happy dance.
There's a new market set for top cornerbacks. Sherman got $57.4 million with $40 million guaranteed over four years, easily the biggest contract for a cornerback in NFL history when it was signed. That type of guaranteed money is getting close to what franchise quarterbacks make. Then Browns cornerback Joe Haden agreed to a $68 million extension through 2013 with at least $22 million guaranteed and another $23 million guaranteed for injury, according to Pro Football Talk. And now Patrick Peterson is rightfully wondering what he's going to get on his second contract.
Peterson is the Cardinals' multi-talented cornerback. He was the fifth overall pick of the 2011 NFL draft, a physical marvel at 6-1, 219 pounds who moves like a much smaller cornerback. And he is hoping for more money than Sherman, he told reporters. He also was paying attention to the guaranteed money on Haden's deal as well, judging by his tweet right after the news broke:
Peterson will make about $2.9 million this season and then $10.1 million in 2015 on the final year of his rookie deal, and he'll want an extension soon.
“I’m definitely observant of what (Sherman) got,” Peterson said, according to the team's web site. “Obviously by him being the highest paid cornerback, the goal for the guys that come after him is to be higher than him. I believe he set the table pretty high, and me and my agent have some work to do.”
Peterson was asked if he thought he was worth more than Sherman.
"We'll see," Peterson said, according to ESPN.com. "Got to ask the Cardinals. I mean, I think I am but at the end of the day both sides have to agree to terms and we'll see what those terms are and hopefully sooner than later."
Peterson has a case. The two-time All-Pro selection shadows the opponent's best receiver, unlike Sherman in Seattle's scheme, which includes a lot of zone coverage and keeps him on one side of the field most of the time. Peterson also is a dangerous punt returner and plays some snaps on offense, as a receiver. Sherman is a great player, but you could find a lot of people in the NFL who would prefer Peterson. The same can be said for Haden.
Peterson is not the only cornerback who has to be happy about the deals Sherman and Haden got. Darrelle Revis, considered the NFL's best cornerback, signed a one-year, $12 million deal with New England. He can then hit free agency next year and use Sherman's deal as a starting point (although he will turn 30 next year and might not find anyone willing to make that investment). Still, he's going to get paid. Every elite cornerback will, now that Sherman hit it big.
Sherman has been driving opponents crazy for years. Now front offices of other teams have a reason to be upset with him as well.
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