The Detroit Lions have a need at cornerback. But is trading for someone like All-Pro Patrick Peterson a real possibility or simply a pipe dream?
The Detroit Lions need to find themselves a new starting outside cornerback. With two-time Pro Bowler Darius Slay on the outside and newly acquired free agent signee Justin Coleman in the slot, Detroit has just one major void to fill in their secondary.
Cornerbacks like former second-rounder Teez Tabor and recent free agent add Rashaan Melvin are certainly candidates. But many seem to believe the Lions will find that starter in this week’s draft. Possibly even in the first round.
But another option seems to have presented itself. According to Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports, the Arizona Cardinals could be looking to trade eight-time Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson during the draft. The former fifth overall selection in 2011 has been linked to the Lions’ in the past as a possible landing spot.
The Lions have made it clear they wish to move down in this year’s draft. It isn’t hard to imagine a trade scenario involving the Cardinals and Peterson in some type of draft day deal. And the future Hall of Fame defender would certainly be a welcomed addition in the Motor City, completing a trio of the best cornerbacks in the NFL.
Maybe the question we should really be asking is why would the Lions’ trade for a 28-year old cornerback during a draft where they could land a much cheaper and younger option? For one, you know exactly what you are getting with someone like Peterson. An athletic freak, it’s not hard to imagine he’ll still be able to play at a high level for several years. Last season, Peterson recorded 54 total tackles, 1.0 sack, five pass defends, and two interceptions as a player most quarterbacks tend to avoid.
Rookie cornerbacks are notorious for how long it takes them to adjust to the speed of the NFL. In fact, since 2010, there have only been four current cornerbacks to make the Pro Bowl in their very first season. Peterson is one of them. The others being the Cleveland Browns’ Denzel Ward (2018), the New Orleans Saints’ Marshon Lattimore (2017), and the Los Angeles Rams’ Marcus Peters (2015).
Expecting a rookie to come in and be an instant plug-and-play starter is sketchy. Even if you use your first round pick to do so (which all of the above four were). In turn, adding a veteran like Peterson will come at a steep price.
And the price will be the biggest obstacle to bringing someone like Patrick Peterson to the Motor City. Outside of any draft compensation, the eight-year veteran is on the hook to make over $23 million in the next two years combined.
According to Spotrac.com, the Detroit Lions have the salary cap space to make the deal happen with an estimated $26 million currently available. Still, that’s a hefty price tag to pay for someone to start opposite Darius Slay. But you may have to make that kind of investment to compete in a pass-heavy NFC North whose teams only improved over the offseason.