Patriots Warned to Avoid Signing 8-Time Pro Bowl Cornerback

Bill Belichick Patriots

Getty The Patriots might be better off to avoid Patrick Peterson.

The New England Patriots are well-known for signing veteran players who may be past their primes on the free agency market. But the Patriots should probably avoid this particular veteran.

According to Bleacher Report’s Alex Kay, the Patriots will have to tackle their depth at cornerback after (likely) re-sign elite corner J.C. Jackson to a massive deal. However, they shouldn’t aim to sign the 31-year-old Patrick Peterson, a former three-time First-Team All-Pro selection and eight-time cornerback.

Why Patriots Should Avoid Peterson

“The New England Patriots have done remarkably well at the cornerback position in recent years, but the team may be lacking some talent if it doesn’t make a free-agency splurge this offseason,” says Kay. “After the midseason Stephon Gilmore trade and with J.C. Jackson in line to earn a massive contract as arguably the best cornerback set to hit the open market, New England will need to restock the defensive back cupboard sooner than later.

While there will be a handful of high-end corners seeking new deals, the Pats would be wise to avoid going after one whose best days are well behind him. Patrick Peterson just finished a one-year deal with the Vikings with middling results.

The 31-year-old couldn’t return to his All-Pro form after an underwhelming end to the decade he spent with the Cardinals and doesn’t seem to have much left in the tank.

Peterson had career lows in interceptions (one), solo tackles (34) and pass defenses (five) during his lone year in Minnesota.

Although Peterson won’t command a hefty contract, the Patriots would be better off identifying some younger players with more athleticism and upside to install in their secondary.”

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Peterson’s Best Days Are Behind Him

The Patriots have targeted well-known players past their primes — or perceived to be past their primes — in an attempt to maximize what remaining value they have left. New England most notably succeeded with this tactic by acquiring Randy Moss. They’ve also had moderate success by signing players such as Junior Seau, acquiring these players towards the end of their careers. However, they’ve also had some big misses with players like Chad Johnson and Albert Haynesworth.

The point is, the Patriots like taking gambles with older veterans — especially when they’re in possible ring-chasing mode.

As Kay notes, as a cornerback who will turn 32 years old next season, Peterson will not command a big contract. The former All-Pro cornerback signed a one-year, $8 million deal with the Minnesota Vikings in the offseason after a prolific career with the Arizona Cardinals. However, his play has been anything but stellar.

Peterson’s 63.0 defensive grade ranks 64th among 120 qualifying cornerbacks in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus. Making matters even worse, his 61.0 coverage grade ranks 72nd among 122 qualifying corners in the league.

Peterson hasn’t been an above average cornerback since at least 2018, as his decline has been in play for at least a few years now. He posted a 68.6 defensive grade (41st in the league) in 2019 and a 55.2 coverage grade (83rd in the league) last season, according to PFF.

While the Patriots could look to upgrade from the pedestrian play of fellow starting corner Jalen Mills (67.5 defensive grade) and Myles Bryant (60.7 defensive grade), New England should probably avoid replacing either with Peterson.

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