Eagles Should Inquire About Patrick Peterson

By Paul Bowman, Eagledelphia Managing Editor

Following the Fletcher Cox restructure, the Eagles have $10.5 million available in cap space to work with should Howie Roseman be looking to make a deal. While the restructure does help with the salary cap issue next season, Howie Roseman would probably not have increased the cap hit for 2020 and beyond to create space this season with no intent to use that space.

The Eagles also project to have more draft picks (11) than any other team in the 2019 draft, so they have assets that they can afford to move.

With the trade deadline just two weeks away (October 30th at 4 p.m.), there is one player I really like for the Eagles – and he is not a running back.

The Cardinals stand with a record of 1-5 and will not make the playoffs. They are already five games behind the Rams in their division and are actively shopping veteran cornerback Patrick Peterson. He is signed for the next three seasons, has a pretty big cap hit each season, and is 28 years old, but he may be a good option for the Eagles.

The Eagles have a deep cornerback room with Jalen Mills, Rasul Douglas, Sidney Jones and Avonte Maddox all still on rookie deals next season, but Darby is still the “shutdown corner” for the Eagles defense. Despite a few bad games, Sportrac projects that Darby will sign a six-year contract worth around $80 million, resulting in a cap hit of nearly $13 million per year. He is likely to get that kind of money as he will be arguably the best free agent corner this offseason, so someone will pay him. Should they acquire him, Peterson’s cap hit for the Eagles would be $11.2 million in 2019 and $12.5 million in 2020. Assuming the Eagles move on from Nick Foles prior to the 2019 season and Jason Peters retires, the Eagles can take on Peterson’s contract and have nearly $8 million in cap space still available before any restructures in 2019.

I like this move for the Eagles. It gives the Eagles a true shutdown corner. He may be 28, but through the first five games of the 2018 season, he has been the third best corner in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus.

While Peterson’s 2019 hit may seem large, there are 12 other corners with higher cap hits in 2019: Jimmy Smith. A.J. Bouye, Darius Slay, Janoris Jenkins, Josh Norman, Desmond Trufant, Stephon Gilmore, Kyle Fuller, Xavier Rhodes, Malcolm Butler, Trumaine Johnson and Joe Haden. Add Darby to that list and Peterson ranks as only the 14th highest cap hit for a corner in 2019 and none of the 13 that have a higher cap hit have played better than him this season. In fact, Peterson is the only one to have been rated in the top five corners this season.

Here’s why I really like this idea: The cost of Peterson is expected to be a first-round pick or a package of second and third rounders. The Eagles have two second-round picks in 2019 and can afford to trade one of them. They can also look to trade their 2020 third-round pick as a trade for Peterson likely means that Darby walks in free agency and signs that lucrative contract. With the Eagles unlikely to sign a free agent near that level this coming offseason, the Eagles are very likely to net a third-round compensatory pick by way of losing Darby. Of course, banking on a compensatory pick is a risk, but it is a calculated one – the kind Howie Roseman likes to take. Those two picks alone may not be enough to get a deal done, but it will certainly get the Cardinals listening and would leave the Eagles with only one less draft pick in 2019 and the same amount of picks in 2020.

Perhaps Peterson will cost so much that it would not make sense for the Eagles to acquire him, but he could certainly help a banged up secondary now and for the next few seasons. Howie Roseman should be on the phone with Arizona looking to make a deal for the veteran.

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