Arizona Cardinals star cornerback Patrick Peterson had 198 punt return yards and was even involved in ten plays on offense, but the days of the LSU product doing work on special teams and package plays on offense have come to a close. The Arizona Republic’s Dan Bickley reported last night that the Cards will force Peterson to a defense-only role going forward, as he is the next top CB to receive a big-money extension after Joe Haden and Richard Sherman received their big paydays; Peterson’s contract will be similar.
The playmaking cornerback picked off three passes and defended 13 last season after picking of seven passes in 2012 with 17 passes defended, and Peterson is safe bet to break up at least ten passes in each season. Hopefully, he’ll have an even higher impact, and the Cardinals have one of the most athletic secondaries in the NFL now with Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu, offseason signing Antonio Cromartie, and rookie strong safety Deone Bucannon.
Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles said of the decision to remove Peterson from returns (and those special packages on offense), “I know there’s less of a chance of him getting hurt without everyone chasing after him (on punt returns). That makes me happy.”
Peterson is perfectly fine with the move, though he did state that he would like to be on the field as much as possible in any situation. His role as a punt returner decreased significantly last season, and the decision to have him focus on cornerback duties only was a pretty obvious one. They can’t afford to risk their big-money star on defense getting injured on a gimmicky play on offense or on a return, especially since his role as a No. 1 corner is far more important.