The Kansas City Chiefs secondary may look a bit different in 2021, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
According to Spotrac, the AFC champions are currently $17.4 million over a projected $185 million salary cap for teams across the league. While general manager Brett Veach has previously said that the team would be “in pretty good shape” with a cap number in that range, Kansas City will still need to make some tough decisions on veteran contracts and looming free agents.
That list will feature key contributors in the secondary including CB Bashaud Breeland and S Daniel Sorensen, both slated to hit the open market when the new league year begins on March 17. But with potential turnover comes the chance to add new talent — and not only through April’s NFL Draft.
On Tuesday, Good Morning Football host Peter Schrager made a strong case for why Arizona Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson and the Chiefs are a “perfect fit” for one another should the pieces fall into place.
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Peterson’s Future in Arizona Remains a Mystery
A former No. 5 overall pick and one of the best cornerbacks of the past decade, Peterson has spent his entire 10-year career with the Cardinals. In 2020, the three-time All-Pro played out the final year of a five-year, $70 million extension signed back in 2014 and is now scheduled to hit free agency for the first time.
On February 8, the day after Super Bowl LV, FanSided’s national NFL columnist Matt Verderame reported that Peterson will be “parting ways barring a significant change in stances.” The next day on his CBS Sports All Things Covered podcast, Peterson called the report “a dirty rumor,” noting that he and the Cardinals had not yet discussed their future plans.
“It was a dirty rumor…So that’s why me and my team didn’t budge.”
We hear from the source himself!
Our very own @P2 addresses a report that he and the Cardinals are planning on parting ways.
— All Things Covered (@ATCoveredPod) February 9, 2021
Given the uncertainty around contract talks with Arizona, speculation has continued on where Peterson’s talents could be best suited in 2021 and beyond should he decide to test the market.
Enter Schrager’s argument for Kansas City, which he founded in three things: the Chiefs’ willingness to add top talent, LSU connections with Tyrann Mathieu and others, and the potential departure of Breeland, the club’s No. 1 cornerback over the last two seasons.
“Patrick Peterson, I think he still has a market,” Shrager pitched to his GMFB co-hosts. “He is a free agent. He might not be the name he used to be in this league, but I think the perfect fit for him would be to take his talents to Kansas City and go find that ring, and to do it with his former teammate Tyrann Mathieu.”
— GMFB (@gmfb) February 23, 2021
Would Peterson Be Willing to Take a Pay Cut?
Peterson to the Chiefs, like many hypothetical big-name signings, remains a pipe dream for a team as cash-strapped as Kansas City currently finds themselves. However, the financial situation isn’t as dire as it appears on the surface, especially if the front office chooses to restructure Mathieu’s contract or parts ways with either of its starting tackles from a year ago — Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz — both now on the other side of 30 years old and recovering from significant injuries.
If the Chiefs choose to prioritize the cornerback position opposite rising star L’Jarius Sneed via free agency and Peterson was willing to play ball at a lower annual salary, the idea could still have some legs.
“It would have to take Patrick Peterson to say, ‘You know what? I’ve made a lot of money, but I’m willing to take a little bit of a pay cut to get that ring and go to a team that is Super Bowl ready right now.’ … It might be one of those deals where he’s taking a home-town discount or in this case, the Kansas City discount because home is nowhere near that,” Shrager continued.
Spotrac lists Peterson’s career earnings at $94.7 million, and while players should secure as much financial safety as they can while they have the opportunity, the more important factor may be that the 30-year-old has made the postseason just twice in a decade, most recently losing in the NFC Championship in 2015.
With Andy Reid‘s Chiefs fresh off of eight straight winning seasons, five consecutive division titles, three conference championships and two Super Bowl appearances, they have as strong a pitch as any team out there.
Chris Licata is an NFL contributor covering the Kansas City Chiefs from enemy territory in Denver, Colorado. Follow him on Twitter @Chris__Licata or join the Heavy on Chiefs Facebook community for the latest out of Chiefs Kingdom!