The Arizona Cardinals and cornerback Patrick Peterson are working towards a big money deal that could make him the highest paid cornerback in the league, so it would only make sense that they are looking to protect their investment on the field.
In a decision made by head coach Bruce Arians, the Cardinals have decided that Peterson will focus solely on the defensive side of the ball in 2014 and he will no longer be seeing reps at wide receiver or as a punt returner.
“I know there’s less of a chance of him getting hurt without everyone chasing after him (on punt returns),” Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles said, via Arizona Central. “That makes me happy.”
For Peterson, he would like to play as much as possible, but he understands the team concepts and sees talent in the players that the Cardinals added during the offseason.
“It’s cool,” he said. “I’m not saying punt return (took) its toll on my body or made me less secure at the cornerback position because, obviously, I always like to be on the field at all times.
“But it’s cool. (Arians) has had players like me before who played both ways, who played at a high level at cornerback and played at a high level at the punt returner position. But now that we have guys who can help me, it won’t be as easy for guys to scheme against me.
“We have Tedd Ginn, we picked up a rookie in the draft and we have me. Now they can’t just say, ‘OK, No. 21 is back there. We’re going to kick it away from him.’ ”
With the new acquisitions, the Cardinals certainly have talent on special teams that could attempt to make up for Peterson’s production, but he was one of the most talented return men in the league and it is hard to see any of the Cardinals current return specialists matching how dynamic Peterson has been.
Of course, if the team is going to much such a big financial commitment to Peterson, they need to do everything in their power to keep him healthy.