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Cowboys free agency 2023: Patrick Peterson could be a veteran cornerback option for Dallas

The Cowboys need help in the secondary and Patrick Peterson could help provide it.

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Minnesota Vikings Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

There are very few directions that the Dallas Cowboys can go in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft that would be surprising. Obviously the Cowboys are not going to select a quarterback or specialist in the first round, but just about everything else has a level of merit to it (although if the Cowboys take a running back, it sure would be interesting). Positions like wide receiver, the offensive line, defensive line as a whole, and secondary all need addressing.

It goes without saying that free agency will help massage some of these areas of need so that the Cowboys are not stuck, and if they sign say a cornerback to start opposite of Trevon Diggs (DaRon Bland is a better slot man), then that is one position that they will not have to worry about as much.

There is one veteran cornerback set to be on the market that they were reportedly interested in. Could they go back to that well?

Patrick Peterson could be a veteran cornerback option for Dallas

We know that the Cowboys are not going to break the bank for any player in free agency and instead are going to look to modestly take care of positions of need. While we hope that they are a bit more aggressive than they have been in the past, there is a rhyme and reason to being responsible in certain ways.

It makes sense that Dallas will sign a veteran cornerback for their room in free agency, although they could just re-sign Anthony Brown and feel satisfied with that decision. If Dallas decides to go elsewhere though, a name that makes some sense is Patrick Peterson.

Amazingly, it has now been well over a decade since Peterson was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals as he was a part of the famed 2011 group that featured Tyron Smith. Peterson spent most of his career in Arizona but has played the last two years for the Minnesota Vikings.

Prior to his first season with Minnesota the veteran corner noted in a conversation with The Athletic that the Cowboys came calling. We talked about it at the time here at BTB:

Once the team Peterson wanted to play for most was no longer an option, he began contemplating the possibilities. The Cowboys and 49ers made pushes, he says. There were conversations with the Eagles.

When he interviewed with Zimmer before the draft in 2011, Peterson was drawn to him. At the time, Zimmer was the Bengals’ defensive coordinator. With the fourth pick in the draft, the Bengals chose wide receiver A.J. Green, and the Cardinals took Peterson with the following selection.

Zimmer didn’t think the Vikings had a chance to sign Peterson. Then Peterson asked his agent to call Zimmer. Once Zimmer and Peterson talked, they knew they were a match.

It is important to note that this was in 2021 so it was in the regime that we are still operating with Dan Quinn running the defense and Mike McCarthy as the head coach. It stands to reason that they are still somewhat interested in Peterson even though two years have passed.

Peterson will turn 33 this year so he is certainly not a young player as far as the NFL is concerned, but he is still a valuable contributor and can help on the outside opposite of Diggs. Recently deemed him an “unheralded” player on his team that the Vikings should not let get away. Hopefully they do.

The three-time All Pro and eight-time Pro Bowler may have lost a step or two of his elite speed, but he remains adept at erasing receivers when given the chance. Peterson was targeted on just nine of his 111 man-coverage snaps in 2022 (8.1%). He was the only outside cornerback with at least 100 man-coverage snaps to be targeted at less than a 12 percent rate. Last season under Ed Donatell, the Vikings played man coverage on just 20.8 percent of dropbacks, the fourth-lowest rate in the league. But Minnesota will likely undergo a complete philosophical makeover under new coordinator Brian Flores, whose defenses have ranked in the top four of man-coverage rate in each of the last five seasons.

As the blurb notes, the Vikings are in a place of remodeling their defense so it stands to reason that Peterson could be an odd man out. He is obviously deeper into his career and likely wants one last chance at winning a title, the Cowboys are a team that checks a lot of boxes for him in that regard.

Beyond being a contender that has a need at Peterson’s position, the Cowboys are also a big-time brand that can help Peterson continue to boost his candidacy for the whole of his career. He is famously an avid golfer, something that worked out well for him when he was playing in Arizona. The DFW area certainly has many a track that he could check out.

What’s more is that the Cowboys play the Cardinals in 2023 (as does the entire NFC East for what it’s worth) and Peterson has a bit of bad beef with the team and specifically their quarterback Kyler Murray.

Bring us Patrick Peterson.

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