Cardinals DBs Peterson, Baker among ESPN’s top 2021 free agents

Mar 28, 2020, 7:04 AM | Updated: Mar 29, 2020, 3:10 am

(Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)...

(Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)

On the whole, Cardinals general manager Steve Keim is receiving gold stars for his work this offseason. Arizona finds itself without pressing needs just about two weeks into free agency, and while the Cardinals GM will stay in the moment, he can’t avoid projecting performance and future cap space beyond 2020.

The 2021 offseason will come with big questions about how the Cardinals keep their defensive backfield together.

Cornerback Patrick Peterson and safety Budda Baker are both up for free agency, and they each could command hefty paydays next offseason. ESPN’s Kevin Seifert ranks Peterson as the 10th-best projected free agent and Baker at 16th.

Peterson will be on the wrong side of 30 by the time this market opens, but barring a complete physical collapse in 2020, there will be interest in one of the best defensive players in this generation.

Peterson will be 31 when the 2021 season begins. Looking toward 2020, he will have to show the last handful of games in 2019 were a sign that his struggles coming off a six-game PED suspension were reflective of how he can play in tip-top form.

The cornerback has expressed the desire to retire a Cardinal since his trade demand back in 2018. Keim this offseason said the same, but Peterson’s future in Arizona will remain a main storyline over the next year until he is extended or re-signed.

Peterson is making a base salary of $12.5 million this coming season and would command six-figures annually considering the relatively high market price of starting cornerbacks, let alone elite ones.

Baker, who will be 26 in 2021, is in a different boat coming off his rookie deal.

Last year, he was a prolific tackler, finishing fourth in the NFL with 147. He added six passes defensed and a forced fumble but is looking for his first career interception. It’s only expected that he will improve playing under defensive coordinator Vance Joseph for the second year in a row at his natural position.

Making $1.4 million this year, a raise for Baker is going to happen. What will he command at a position that hasn’t been valued as greatly in recent years?

Arizona could work out extensions with its two defensive stars to avoid free agency altogether.

If that happens or if the DBs re-sign, the Cardinals defensive backs will surely be eating into more of the total salary cap space starting in 2021. If not, the secondary will just look a whole lot different.

Presented By
Western Governors University

Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals D.J. Humphries...

Vincent DeAngelis

Cardinals’ OT D.J. Humphries talks Marvin Harrison Jr., recovery from torn ACL

Arizona Cardinals offensive tackle D.J. Humphries expressed that he thinks Marvin Harrison Jr. is too easy to miss in the 2024 NFL Draft.

4 hours ago

Malik Nabers speaks with reporters at 2024 NFL Draft Combine...

Tyler Drake

Cardinals add Malik Nabers, not Marvin Harrison Jr., in Lance Zierlein’s latest mock draft's Lance Zierlein zigged instead of zagged on Monday, mock-drafting Malik Nabers, not Marvin Harrison Jr., to the Cardinals at No. 4.

5 hours ago

Jacob Cowing runs the 40-yard dash at the NFL Draft Combine...

Tyler Drake

Projecting where Arizona Cardinals could draft NFL Combine standouts

A look at some of the combine standouts who could fill a Cardinals' need and how they could realistically find their way to Arizona:

8 hours ago

Notre Dame offensive lineman Joe Alt runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine, Sunday, Mar...

Tom Kuebel

Cardinals could trade up to pick OL prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft

After an impressive showing by the offensive lineman at the 2024 NFL Draft Combine, the Cardinals might have to trade up from pick No. 27 to get a top prospect.

1 day ago

Rome Odunze...

Alex Weiner

How did Rome Odunze measure at NFL Draft Combine after meeting with Cardinals?

Before taking the field to run the 40-yard dash, Rome Odunze met with several teams sitting atop the draft, including the Cardinals.

2 days ago

Olumuyiwa Fashanu...

Jesse Morrison

NFL Draft OL prospect Olu Fashanu had ‘smooth meeting’ with Cardinals, Jonathan Gannon

One of the top prospects in the NFL draft, offensive tackle Olumuyiwa Fashanu seemed interested in the Cardinals at the NFL combine.

2 days ago

Cardinals DBs Peterson, Baker among ESPN’s top 2021 free agents