Steelers free agency do-over #3: Byron Murphey
Fans have been naturally excited for Patrick Peterson since the deal was announced. A player that has always had some links to Pittsburgh, he finally landed with the team this offseason. While he is a notable name, he is also an aging veteran, and I’m not sure this will ultimately be a fruitful move.
Peterson has been playing in a zone-heavy scheme with the Vikings, and now he is returning to a man-heavy system. While Peterson still has some speed, that asset is waning. Not only will he be featured in a man-heavy scheme, but he also seems like the most likely slot defender heading into this season. While Peterson is a smart and experienced defender, I’m not confident that he will be a great fit for this defense.
What the team could have done instead is target Byron Murphey. Another name the team seemed interested in during his draft process, Murphy has developed into a solid cornerback that excels in the slot. He would have filled the Cam Sutton role far better than I think Peterson will just because he is used to being both an outside and inside coverage player.
I don’t think the Peterson move is a horrible one one paper. The value is fair given the market and he will provide the room with a great mentor to work with. That said, the team has neglected the slot cornerback position and seems poised to try and make Peterson fit in that role. Murphy was a better and younger fit and should have been the target instead.