Bleacher Report Writer Believes Patrick Peterson A Free Agent Who ‘Signed With The Wrong Team’

After losing veteran cornerback Cameron Sutton to the Detroit Lions in free agency on a three-year, $33 million deal, the Pittsburgh Steelers and GM Omar Khan did well to pivot quickly and ink 32-year-old cornerback and future Pro Football Hall of Famer Patrick Peterson to a two-year, $14 million deal.

While the signing of Peterson, at least hypothetically, plugs a hole on the Steelers’ defense, Bleacher Report’s Alex Ballentine believes that Peterson signed with the wrong team in free agency, highlighting Peterson as one of six players he believes made a mistake on the open market.

Ballentine’s reasoning? The scheme fit for Peterson.

In Minnesota, Peterson played 76% zone coverage as the Vikings played some of the fewest man-to-man coverages in the league last season. The Steelers played the fifth-most man to man in the NFL last season, making for a curious fit for an aging Peterson.

“Father Time comes for everyone. At one time Peterson was one of the NFL’s best corners and it wouldn’t matter what scheme he was in. That time is gone,” Ballentine writes for Bleacher Report. “As his age-33 season approaches, there’s a real possibility that Peterson’s play is set to fall off a cliff if the Steelers continue to heavily rely on man coverage in their second season under coordinator Teryl Austin.

“Even if Peterson couldn’t arrange a new contract with Minnesota, it would have been wise to find a scheme that would accommodate him better.”

The questions regarding the scheme fit for Peterson in Pittsburgh, as well as his age at a position where it’s a young man’s game, are certainly reasonable and fair overall. Peterson is going from a situation in Minnesota where he was able to play a ton of zone coverage, read the quarterback’s eyes and make plays on the football, allowing the Vikings to hide some of Peterson’s deficiencies, like losing a step in man coverage.

That might not be the case in Pittsburgh, though it’s entirely fair and reasonable to expect the Steelers to make some adjustments defensively due to personnel, rather than expecting Peterson to be a seamless, 1:1 fit to replace the versatile piece that Sutton was.

Peterson remains extremely confident in his abilities, and knows he’s more advanced mentally than physically at this point. Shortly after signing with the Steelers he stated that while he might be a step slower now, nothing will surprise him because he’s seen it all and prepared for it all.

It’s certainly an interesting pairing overall on paper, just based on the coverage schemes and snaps from last season for the Steelers and for Peterson, but there’s without a doubt a plan in place. He’ll be a mentor in a cornerback room undergoing significant changes — it could add a high draft pick or two — and will help solidify a secondary in need of some leadership outside of Minkah Fitzpatrick.

To Top
error: Alert: Content is protected !!