PITTSBURGH — It seems like future Hall of Famer and Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Patrick Peterson will be back for 2024 in the NFL. He declared that he wanted to play 15 years, and next year will be year 14. On the Rich Eisen Show, Peterson said two weeks ago that he plans to return.
“I always had dreams and aspirations to play 15 years, but that wasn’t guaranteed to me,” Peterson said. “I’m just very blessed and lucky to still be playing this game I love 13 years and counting, because I still plan on coming back next year.”
However, where will he play? And will he even be in a Steelers uniform?
Peterson has helped the Steelers out this season by switching between outside cornerback, slot cornerback, and safety. That position switch might be necessary to reach that 15-year goal. He understands that he no longer has the elite speed that he once did, and other greats have done it, so why can’t he?
“The older that I did get, if I wanted to play this game for much longer than I planned on playing, I did feel that move was going to be necessary,” Peterson said. “I feel like it’s a great move for me at this state of my career. We’ve got some really, really good corners on this roster that I feel can really feel can be the cornerstone of this team here in the future. This might be my second career.”
Safety is a position that players can play a little bit longer. Rod Woodson moved to safety late in his career, with the Baltimore Ravens. He ended up playing 17 seasons. Is something like that in the cards for Peterson? It seems that is likely the road that he is going down, or at the very least, becoming a versatile defender in the middle of the field. But Mike Tomlin had no sure idea of where Peterson would slot into plans in 2024.
“Again, you know, we’re really at the infancy of these things. I did meet with Pat (Peterson), we had a good exit interview. I’m really appreciative of his experience and professionalism and who he is as a man and player, what he’s willing to do. But from a decision-making standpoint, we’re just really at the infancy of it all from that standpoint,” Tomlin said.
That is to say, their plans are anything but concrete. The team tried to trade for Jaylon Johnosn this season, which signals that they will likely add to cornerback at some point in the offseason. And Peterson’s cap hit climbs to of $9.7 million in 2024. Could it be a sign of another extension or even some void years coming? It’s possible, especially if the team wishes to keep Peterson around the building.
The Steelers have had an issue with the positon, both on the outside and in the slot recently, and they need to fix both spots to turn the secondary around in 2024. So, how Peterson fits into those plans will greatly affect how they decide to attack this position in free agency and the NFL Draft.