Lions Connected to Former $70 Million Defensive Back

Dan Campbell Patrick Peterson

Getty Bleacher Report's Alex Ballentine argued that Dan Campbell and the Detroit Lions are a potential landing spot for 3-time All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson.

The Detroit Lions signed former Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Cameron Sutton in NFL free agency last year. Now in need of replacing Sutton, Bleacher Report’s Alex Ballentine argued the Lions could target another former Steelers defensive back in free agency — Patrick Peterson.

Ballentine named the Lions a potential fit for the 3-Time All-Pro cornerback.

“The Pittsburgh Steelers cut the three-time All-Pro in a money-saving move. However, he played in all 17 games for the Steelers last season, starting 16 games and giving up just 7.7 yards per target,” wrote Ballentine.

“He also added an intriguing chapter of his career by moonlighting at safety toward the end of the season.

“Peterson showed enough that he should get a shot at corner, but the possibility of playing safety makes him a safer signing.”

After his rookie contract expired, Peterson signed a 5-year, $70 million deal to stay with the Arizona Cardinals. In his first five seasons, he made first-team All-Pro three times.

Peterson also made eight consecutive Pro Bowls beginning in his 2011 rookie season.

The past three seasons, Peterson has played for the Minnesota Vikings and Steelers. Last year in Pittsburgh, he posted 42 combined tackles, 11 pass defenses and 2 interceptions in 17 regular season games.

How Patrick Peterson Could Fit With the Lions

Peterson isn’t the same player he once was. He hasn’t made the All-Pro team since 2015, and the last time he was a Pro Bowler was in 2018.

But he could potentially still provide solid depth even as a starter to a contending team such as the Lions.

Peterson experienced an inconsistent season overall in his only campaign with the Steelers last fall. He particularly struggled at times with his tackling.

But he can still be strong in coverage at times. And in Detroit, he wouldn’t need to line up against the opposition’s top receiver as he did for the first half of 2023 in Pittsburgh. That job should fall to new Lions cornerback Carlton Davis.

The Steelers released Peterson this offseason mostly because he wasn’t worth his projected $9-plus million cap hit he was due. On a more affordable deal, Peterson is an intriguing possibility for Detroit, particularly because of his experience and flexibility.

Peterson could start opposite Davis or help nickel cornerback Brian Branch cover the slot. Peterson also began to play safety in 2023, which he is open to doing more of this season.

Lions Searching for Another CB to Replace Cameron Sutton

In addition to trading for Davis, the Lions signed veteran cornerback Amik Robertson in free agency this offseason. They also re-signed Khalil Dorsey and Emmanuel Moseley.

With those signings, it appeared as though the Lions added enough cornerback depth ahead of the 2024 NFL draft. But then on March 21, the Lions released Sutton.

Detroit parted ways with Sutton a day after he became the subject of a police search, according to a March 20 release from the Hillsborough County (Florida) Sheriff’s Office.

With Davis and Robertson, the Lions added cornerbacks who are capable of playing a lot in 2024. But Sutton led Detroit with 1,077 defensive snaps last season. So, his absence leaves a rather large hole.

Teams shouldn’t necessarily want Peterson to play a large amount of snaps in 2024. He turns 34 in July. But he led the Steelers with 1,096 defensive snaps during 2023.

Peterson’s ability to play a lot at all kinds of various positions could make him a potential late free agent target for Detroit.

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