Don't expect Washington to make a run after Patrick Peterson in free agency

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Ethan Cadeaux
·3 min read
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Don't expect WFT to make a run after Patrick Peterson in FA originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

The 2020 season might officially be over, but the NFL never stops. Just one day after the Super Bowl, news has emerged that one of the league's premier defensive backs over the past decade will soon be looking for a new home. 

The Arizona Cardinals and cornerback Patrick Peterson are reportedly planning on parting ways this offseason, according to FanSided's Matt Verderame. Peterson will be an unrestricted free agent this March for the first time in his career.

Peterson's time in Arizona ends after a decade of great success. In 10 seasons with the Cardinals, Peterson established himself as one of the league's best cornerbacks, making eight Pro Bowls and three All-Pro squads over that span. Peterson was also named to the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 2010s.

Yet, even considering all of Peterson's success and accolades, don't expect Washington to make a run after the cornerback in free agency, despite the team's need to address the position.

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For starters, Washington has to make a decision on cornerback Ronald Darby. The defensive back signed a one-year deal with Washington ahead of the 2020 season and turned in one of the best campaigns of his career, finishing as top 30 cornerback in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus.

Washington's defensive backs played surprisingly better than many expected in 2020 and Darby was a major reason why. As Ron Rivera and Jack Del Rio continue to build their defense, Darby has proved he deserves to be a part of the group moving forward.

Darby, who just turned 27 in January, is nearly four years younger than Peterson and is coming off a much better season than the Cardinals star. Peterson struggled in 2020, posting the lowest PFF grade of his career since his rookie season. With Peterson on the wrong side of 30, it's worth wondering if he'll ever return to the shutdown corner he once was.

If Washington does not re-sign Darby, there are multiple other cornerbacks on the market that are both younger and cheaper than Peterson will be come March. Tennessee's Desmond King, Pittsburgh's Mike Hilton, and Seattle's Shaquill Griffin could all be options for Washington this offseason; none of those cornerbacks are over the age of 26, while Peterson turns 31 prior to the 2021 season.

For Peterson, there's no guarantee he'd even be interested in coming to Washington, either, especially if winning is the most important thing for him when considering his next stop.

In 10 seasons with the Cardinals, the cornerback has only played in three playoff games -- none since 2015 -- and has never been to the Super Bowl. While Washington does appear to be on the rise as a franchise, the Burgundy and Gold are still several pieces away from truly contending for a title.

Several of the NFL's top teams, including the Kansas City Chiefs and Green Bay Packers, need help at the cornerback position. Like it or not, the chance to join one of those quads is likely a lot more appealing for Peterson than Washington is. That's just the reality.

In Washington, Peterson would provide great veteran leadership and certainly serve as a mentor to the team's young defense. Fit wise, though, it's hard to see a match.