An eight-time Pro Bowler, three-time first-team All-Pro — one of the best defenders of this generation — was staring Jerry Jones in the face. The wheeling-and-dealing Dallas Cowboys czar could not resist.
Unfortunately for Jones, his hopes of acquiring Patrick Peterson were dashed this past March when the former Arizona Cardinals cornerback took his talents to Minnesota, inking a one-year, $8 million free-agent deal to become the new Vikings CB1.
That isn’t to say Jones did not intercede and attempt to lure Peterson to Big D, however. Quite the opposite. According to The Athletic’s Dan Pompei, the Cowboys even “pushed” to sign the 2011 No. 5 overall pick but ultimately fell short.
“Once the team Peterson wanted to play for most was no longer an option, he began contemplating the possibilities. The Cowboys and 49ers made pushes, he says. There were conversations with the Eagles,” Pompei recently revealed.
“When he interviewed with Zimmer before the draft in 2011, Peterson was drawn to him. At the time, Zimmer was the Bengals’ defensive coordinator. With the fourth pick in the draft, the Bengals chose wide receiver A.J. Green, and the Cardinals took Peterson with the following selection.
“Zimmer didn’t think the Vikings had a chance to sign Peterson. Then Peterson asked his agent to call Zimmer. Once Zimmer and Peterson talked, they knew they were a match.”
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Not the First Time …
Equally adept in coverage and against the run, Peterson has notched 499 combined tackles, 91 pass deflections, and 28 interceptions across 154 career games — all starts. He’s also known for his special teams prowess, having added over 1,800 career punt-return yards (9.3 career yards per return average) and four return touchdowns.
Peterson, 31, continued to perform at an elite level last season, recording 61 tackles and three INTs as the Cardinals finished 10th in pass defense, one spot ahead of the Cowboys.
Although Pompei peeled back the curtain on the Peterson-Cowboys marriage that never formulated, he wasn’t the first to broach the subject. In February, FanSided dubbed the latter among five of the top destinations for the shutdown corner.
“The Cowboys need all the help they can get defensively, though new coaching will help and new coordinator Dan Quinn’s scheme has worked best with good depth at cornerback,” FanSided’s Brad Berreman wrote. “Jerry Jones has a bit of cap space to work with, though a second franchise tag or a new contract for quarterback Dak Prescott obviously looms very large this offseason. Peterson is sure to prioritize winning in his new landing spot, which the Cowboys are always trying to do. If having the star on his helmet appeals to him at all, there is a fit here.”
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Depth Chart Snapshot
Jones resisted the urge to import a big-name cornerback this offseason, instead opting to spend second- and third-round choices on Kelvin Joseph and Nahshon Wright, respectively, to pair with the club’s incumbent cover men — namely Trevon Diggs, Anthony Brown, and Jourdan Lewis.
As of this writing, Diggs is locked into a starting role for the 2021 campaign. Joseph is competing with Brown for the second outside CB vacancy. Lewis is the favorite to handle primary slot duties.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL