Former Steelers CB Reveals Blunt Take On NFL Defensive Backs

Patrick Peterson, Detroit Lions
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Former Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Patrick Peterson is 33 years old and has noticed one thing while looking throughout the NFL: many big-name cornerbacks are still free agents. 

Peterson was released by the Steelers in March, and he has remained unsigned since. He said he’s going to be ready if a team makes the call, but he has also noticed that fellow defensive backs like Xavien Howard and Stephen Gilmore are still looking for new homes. 

“What do you think it is about the corners and the safety market at this day and age?” Peterson asked on his All Things Covered Podcast  with co-host Bryant McFadden. “We know it’s a passing league, right? Why do you see so many high-caliber guys who’ve played at a high level — defensive backs — still free agents right now?”

It’s a good point made by Peterson, who may have lost a step in the last couple of years, but there still has to be something he can offer an NFL team, even if it’s just in a leadership and depth role.

Are free-agent defensive backs looking for too much money?

One big question surrounding Peterson and some of the other players mentioned is what type of contract they are looking for in free agency.

Last offseason, Peterson signed a two-year deal with an average salary of $7 million per season. If Peterson were looking for another $7 million this offseason, it does make sense why some teams would be a bit hesitant, but at $3 or $4 million, he still has enough left in the tank to help an NFL team. 

Peterson was drafted 5th overall in the 2011 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals after winning the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the best defensive back in college football. For most of his NFL career, he’s been considered one of the best cornerbacks in the league and routinely matched up against the best wide receivers in football.

It’s a passing league, and stopping quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow, and Josh Allen is key.

Even if guys like Peterson aren’t signed before the start of the season when injuries start to pop up, it’s hard to imagine that he or Howard won’t be one of the first players called to fill out a team.

Age is only a number, and these players still have some gas left in the tank. 

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