Patrick Peterson has interest in Philly; is the feeling mutual?

The Eagles secondary is a bit of a mess right now. Both starting safeties from last season are currently free agents, along with their No. 2 corner. We assume Howie Roseman will bring back at least once piece of the secondary from last year, most likely Rodney McLeod, but that still leaves two glaring holes to fill.

The cornerback market has dried up pretty quickly since free agency began. One name that remains on the open market is former All-Pro corner Patrick Peterson, who actually name dropped the Eagles in a recent interview with NFL Network. When asked about which teams he could see himself playing for in 2022, Peterson had this to say:

I don’t know what Dallas has opposite of [Trevon] Diggs but I know they have some young corners over there.

I thought Tampa would be in the mix but [they] signed [Carlton] Davis back. Kind of knew that was out of the picture.

I think Philly is a good fit, like some of the things that they do.

So, there are a lot of teams out there that say they have interest, but money talks.”

While there haven’t been any reports indicating the Eagles are interested in Peterson, that final line seems to indicate there is some mutual interest from both sides. Whether or not Peterson wants a big contract is yet to be seen, but I imagine he’ll be looking for a similar deal to the one he signed last offseason with Minnesota (one-year, $8M).

Peterson will turn 32 in July and isn’t the same corner we saw go to eight straight Pro Bowls during his time in Arizona. At his peak, he was arguably the best play making corner in football. He’s regressed a little bit, but he’s proven that he’s still a very capable outside corner.

In 2021, Peterson started 13 games for the Vikings. He allowed a completion percentage of 56.6 and a passer rating of 78.7 when targeted, both of which were his best marks in four years. Pro Football Focus graded him as the 64th best corner out of 116 last season. At this point in his career, Peterson should be viewed as a solidifying piece for a secondary, which is exactly what he’d be in Philly.

With Darius Slay placed firmly on the outside, along with Avonte Maddox in the slot, Peterson will be asked to be the No. 2 corner if he joins this group. The coverage scheme that Jonathan Gannon runs in Philly is similar to the one Peterson played in last year with Minnesota — a lot of zone coverage with deep safety help over the top.

Gannon has a track record of getting corners back on track throughout his coaching career. When Xavier Rhodes joined his secondary in Indianapolis after a forgettable season in Minnesota, he had a resurgence. The same can be said for Slay last season, where he totaled three interceptions and made the Pro Bowl.

Peterson still has all the tools required to be a stout outside corner in the NFL and if he’s placed in a corner friendly scheme like Gannon’s, his play making ability should be able to shine.

Ideally, the Eagles will be able to find a long-term solution at the cornerback position through the draft, or continue to develop one of their young corners to eventually take on that role. Nevertheless, asking a rookie or either Zech McPhearson or Tay Gowan to step in start this upcoming season isn’t the safest bet. Unless one of them improves drastically and impresses during camp, Gannon is going to want a reliable corner in that No. 2 spot.

Peterson provides that, even if it’ll only be for a year or so. And if a young corner really catches the eye of the coaching staff during camp, the Eagles will probably structure Peterson’s contract in a way that’ll allow them to cut bait before the season begins.

It’s a win-win move. Peterson is an upgrade over what they had last season in Steven Nelson, and he figures to be the best option to place opposite of Slay.

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