Cornerback is an under-the-radar need for the Falcons this offseason. AJ Terrell will obviously be the future of the position when the team locks him up, but it’s not exactly clear past that. An injury limited Casey Hayward to just six games, and the lack of depth reared its ugly head. There’s no question the Falcons need to add to the position, and free agent Patrick Peterson told Bryant McFadden that he’d love to be in Atlanta.
— Carl Dukes (@putemupcdukes) January 26, 2023
Despite turning 33 years old this offseason, Peterson started all 17 games this past season, recording five interceptions (fifth-most) and 15 passes defended (sixth-most). Peterson’s 80.7 grade in 2022 was the second-highest mark of his 12-year career, according to PFF. The grading site also had the LSU product as the fourth-highest graded player in coverage. Not only does he still have some left in the tank, but he’s a high-quality person too.
There’s a chance he returns to Minnesota, given the Vikings only have Akayleb Evans, Cam Dantzler, and Andrew Booth Jr. under contract for next season. Spotrac projects his market value at $6.4 million on a one-year deal, which seems affordable. Still, I don’t know if adding another aging cornerback is the right move for the Falcons.
Atlanta should have Casey Hayward back in 2023, but Darren Hall is the only quality reserve under contract. Despite his struggles in 2022, the former fourth-round pick performed admirably when forced into a starting role. However, the Falcons can’t rely on just him. With Isaiah Oliver hitting free agency, the defense also needs a starting nickel, and when you look at the 2024 roster, things are even bleaker.
Patrick Peterson might not be the answer, but the team could use an influx of young talent at the position. Honestly, there isn’t a single unit on the roster that doesn’t need upgrading — top-end talent or depth.