Veteran free-agent defensive lineman Corey Peters re-signed with the Arizona Cardinals 11 days before the team's first preseason game in 2021. He suffered a season-ending torn patellar tendon in Week 10 of the 2020 season and worked his way into being in the Cardinals' plans for another season.
Peters is back in the free-agent market and once again is unsigned before training camp.
Pro Football Focus analyst Doug Kyed wrote an article and came up with one trade or free-agent acquisition for every NFL team ahead of training camp.
He has the Cardinals re-signing Peters. Here's why Kyed thinks the Cardinals should bring back the 34-year-old:
"Peters is biding his time in free agency before he decides on his next destination," Kyed wrote. "That could include a return to the Cardinals, who ranked 27th in Ben Linsey’s defensive line rankings."
Peters was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in 2010, where he spent five seasons with the team. He signed a three-year contract with the Cardinals in 2015, but missed the entire 2015 season due to a torn Achilles tendon. Since 2016, Peters has totaled 102 solo tackles, two forced fumbles and eight sacks. He's also been the team's captain for the last four seasons.
With the Cardinals’ current roster construction, it does seem realistic to see Peters returning. Rashard Lawrence and Leki Fotu are two other defensive tackles on the roster. Lawrence is in line for a larger role, but he has played only 20 games in his two seasons. Arizona has been hurt with defensive line injuries over the past few seasons, including J.J. Watt, Zach Allen and former Cardinals Jordan Phillips.
During his patellar tendon rehab in 2020, Peters expressed his desire to continue playing as a Cardinal and retire as a Cardinal.
"Obviously, being here in Arizona for the past six years has been amazing," Peters said in December of 2020 when asked about his upcoming free-agent year. "We've put some roots down here and started to do a lot of work in the community and, regardless of my situation with the Cardinals, that work is going to continue. It is what it is. I'm not under contract next year, so obviously I'd love to be a Cardinal for the rest of my career, but it is what it is. I understand the business side of things and I'll be prepared to move forward either way."
There's a chance that things have changed as Peters is now 34 years old. Cardinals team reporter Kevin Parrish Jr. thinks that Peters is "uncertain to return in 2022." Parrish did say that "it wouldn't be a surprise to bring in another veteran."
Last season, Peters played 14 games with 11 starts and posted 24 combined tackles, three tackles for loss and one fumble recovery.
There's still time for the run-stuffing nose tackle to reunite in Arizona.