The situation in Arizona for Patrick Peterson
Before the J.J. Watt signing, it was reported by Spotrac that the Cardinals were going to have an estimated $17.5 million in cap space for the 2021 season – Watt is going to take $15.5 million of that. If the cap doesn’t go any higher than the floor of $180 million, that would mean that the Cardinals would only have $2 million in free cap space.
This is obvious, but Patrick Peterson is going to require more than $2 million per year, and again, that doesn’t include the remaining free agents. Some of these free agents include wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, running back Kenyan Drake, linebackers De’Vondre Campbell and Haasan Reddick, and many others.
Kliff Kingsbury is an offensive-minded coach, which means that his main focus is on building an elite offense around Kyler Murray. To achieve this means that Kingsbury is going to need to make some hard decisions. With Larry Fitzgerald being a free agent and 38 years old, look for him to either move on from the team or take a lot less money. They made an offensive splash last year by trading for DeAndre Hopkins, so look for Kingsbury to do this again.
The one player that is taking up the most cap space for the Cardinals is a defensive player – Chandler Jones. He is set to make over $20 million in 2021, and while he deserves this kind of money, this isn’t the direction that Kingsbury wants to go.
It may even come down to Kingsbury trading away Jones to free up that cap space. Again, the Cardinals will be transitioning into a more offensive team, like the Kansas City Chiefs. That’s not to say that they will not have a good defense, but what it does mean, is that the majority of the cap space will be used on offensive players, not defensive.
To achieve the offense that he wants, Kingsbury is going to need to part with some defensive talent, especially those who are free agents. The Cardinals and Peterson likely want to come to an agreement, but the cap space may not allow it. Look for the Cardinals to attempt to re-sign Peterson. It’s hard to let a top-five cornerback walk out of the door.