PHOENIX — To read or hear about Patrick Peterson and his contract status, it would sound like he’s kind of concerned about a deal getting done.
Talk to him, though, and you’ll get a different story.
“That’s your guys’ job, to overblow stuff,” he told the assembled media Monday at Donovan’s Steak and Chop House after talking about his Celebs and Steaks event, which will benefit the Patrick Peterson Foundation for Success. “But obviously both sides, we want to be here for the long term. That’s why they drafted me at the fifth pick, obviously, just not to be here for those five or four years.
“They drafted me to be here for the long haul. I want to be that Adrian Wilson of the organization, that Larry Fitzgerald, that Darnell Dockett. The list goes on, and I believe I’ve done some great things here early in my career to be here for a while, and I want to be here for a while.”
The fifth pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, Peterson has emerged as one of the best cornerbacks in the league over the last three seasons, accumulating 12 interceptions and 161 total tackles along with three Pro Bowl appearances.
Right now he’s still playing under his rookie contract, which calls for him to make just under $6 million in 2014 and then, due to the team picking up its option for the fifth year, a little more than $10 million in 2015.
“I have two more years left on my contract,” he said. “I think I’m definitely well deserving of a new contract, but at the end of the day it’s a business. You’ve got cap numbers, you’ve got other guys you need to take care of like the rookie pool, and all that stuff falls under perspective.
“But at the end of the day I know Steve Keim and Coach Arians and Mr. Bidwill, they want me here for the long haul.”
Peterson added that he’s “definitely excited to see what their number may be” after seeing the Seahawks just sign Richard Sherman to a four-year, $57 million deal with $40 million guaranteed, “but we’ll have to wait and see.”
At the very least, Sherman’s deal should serve as a bit of a baseline for the negotiations between Peterson’s side and the Cardinals. The Seahawk may be the NFL’s best corner, but Peterson isn’t too far behind.
“Obviously, by him being the highest paid cornerback now, the goal is the guys that come after him to be higher than him,” Peterson said. “I believe he set the table pretty high, and me and my agent have got some work to do.”
Peterson’s agent, Joel Segal, will do his work behind the scenes. His own work, however, will come in the spotlight.
Peterson will once again be counted on to be the team’s number one cornerback. Peterson is part of a revamped secondary that now includes former Pro Bowler Antonio Cromartie and first-round pick Deone Bucannon, and he will be expected to lead a group that will help get the Cardinals back to the postseason for the first time in his NFL career.
That’s part of the reason why no matter what happens with his contract in the coming months, whether a deal is agreed to or not, the talks won’t impact his on-field performance.
“I still have to be the best player that I can be,” he said. “I believe I’ve grown a pretty good reputation here in the league, so I don’t want to slack off just because I didn’t get paid or I didn’t get compensated the way I felt I needed to.
“But I want to help this team win ball games. I want to bring a Super Bowl here to Arizona. I want to get better each and every year. I don’t want to be satisfied with just being an All-Pro or just being a Pro Bowl player. I’ve never been in a playoff game before, so my goal is to get into the playoffs. I want to get a taste of that playoff speed and that playoff atmosphere. So I’m working towards something big, and I believe to me, it’s much bigger than the contract because I came to Arizona who’s been to the Super Bowl but didn’t win it, and that’s my goal, I want to bring a Super Bowl here.”
Lofty goals, but for a 23-year-old who has surpassed expectations both on and off the field since joining the Cardinals, they’re not exactly the type you roll your eyes at. In a short time Peterson has become a captain and face of the franchise, and appears to be the type of player the team will build around. So whether the contract happens now, next week, next month or next year, it seems there is little chance it won’t get done.
And there’s no chance Peterson won’t be on the field in an effort to make it happen sooner.
“I’m not holding out,” he said, pointing to previous reports that twisted a response of his and made it seem like he’d consider the option. “That’s what they do. But there won’t be no holding out for me. I want to continue playing football at a high level.
“And like I said, I have two years left so there’s no sense in holding out.”