He may not get a lot of respect from Pittsburgh Steelers fans, but former NFL cornerback Adam ‘Pacman’ Jones was one of the best at his position in the league during his prime. Best known for resurrecting his career with the Cincinnati Bengals after getting into all sorts of trouble, he did his part to earn the ire of Steeler Nation.
But he does acknowledge when he thinks the Steelers do something smart. And he was on board with the impending signing of former Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson. Jones was on the Pat McAfee Show when they discussed it, and he offered, simply, “I like that move. Pat P is a dawg. He is a dawg. For a long time”.
Peterson, now 33 years old, is coming off one of the better statistical seasons of his NFL career. He recorded five interceptions in 2022 for the Minnesota Vikings with 15 passes defensed, with a career-high 66 tackles and three tackles for loss.
A former fifth-overall pick with 12 seasons under his belt, Peterson is an eight-time Pro Bowler and two-time first-team All-Pro. His 34 career interceptions lead all active players, though he has only twice recorded more than three interceptions in a season.
He spent the first decade of his career with the Arizona Cardinals before signing with the Vikings in 2021. Staying there for two years, he told his podcast co-host and cousin Bryant McFadden on Monday that he had hoped to stay in Minnesota, but they couldn’t work things out contractually. He now hopes Pittsburgh is his last stop.
Peterson comes in just as it is expected that Cameron Sutton will sign a three-year, $33 million contract with the Detroit Lions. The Steelers are still expected to address cornerback early in the 2023 NFL Draft, and the future Hall of Famer could serve as a mentor—perhaps to Joey Porter Jr.
Jones was the sixth-overall pick of the 2005 NFL Draft by the Tennessee Titans. His first five years in the league were tumultuous, with various legal troubles threatening to end his career prematurely. But the Bengals and owner Mike Brown took the chance on him and he had another productive decade in Cincinnati.
Peterson is the oldest outside veteran the Steelers have signed in many years. It should be noted that the Steelers opted not to re-sign Joe Haden, entering his age-33 season, in 2022 after spending half a decade in Pittsburgh.
There was no real significant drop-off in Haden’s play, though he did miss five games due to injury the year before and failed to record an interception for just the second time in his career in a season in which he played more than five games.
Now the Steelers sign a cornerback who is even older at signing than Haden would have been a year ago. The former Steelers recently said that he would have played for $5 million, but Pittsburgh seemingly never even offered him a deal. He ultimately decided to retire rather than play for $2 million in another city.