Cardinals running back Adrian Peterson had a pair of 100-yard games in his brief Arizona tenure in 2018.
The dream of Adrian Peterson playing for the Cardinals dated back to the 2007 draft, even before Peterson had played a down in the NFL.
The reality of Peterson playing for the Cardinals was short-lived and is now over, after the team released him Tuesday in a move that wasn’t unexpected.
Peterson, who turns 33 in March, finished the season on injured reserve, missing the final five games of the year with a scary neck injury suffered against Jacksonville. He played in six games for the Cardinals after arriving in a trade with the Saints on Oct. 10, gaining 448 yards on 129 carries with two touchdowns.
Peterson had been due $1.05 million in salary in 2018, plus a $750,000 roster bonus this week and per
game roster bonuses of up to $1.65M, according to overthecap.com. With the return of David Johnson from injury to take over the workhorse back role – and with the fact Peterson was unlikely to play special teams – it made sense for the Cardinals to go in a different and younger direction at running back.
The move also clears a little bit more salary cap space with free agency beginning Wednesday. Teams started talking to other teams' free agents Monday.
Reports have the Cardinals expecting to sign veteran quarterback later this week.
The Cardinals have Johnson, T.J. Logan, D.J. Foster, Bronson Hill and Darius Victor under contract at running back. Elijhaa Penny was also tendered an offer as an exclusive rights free agent. Kerwynn Williams will be an unrestricted free agent.
Peterson had two spectacular outings – a 134-yard, two-touchdown debut in a home win over the Buccaneers, and a 159-yard effort in San Francisco a few weeks later in which he set an NFL record for carries by a player 30 or older, with 37 attempts.
Injuries took such a toll on the Cardinals at running back -- and the Cards struggled to run so much of the time -- that Peterson's 448 yards actually led the team.
Including four games of limited work with the Saints, Peterson had 529 yards on 156 carries in 2017.
With 12,276 career rushing yards, Peterson is 12th in NFL history, just four yards behind Marshall Faulk and a mere 37 behind Jim Brown to get to 10th place.
“I have so much left,” Peterson said in October after the trade. “I’d love to play at least four to five more years, God willing. I have a lot left in the tank. So, stay tuned.”
During Super Bowl week, Peterson reiterated his hope to play another four years. Peterson did not meet with the Arizona media again after he was injured.
DT WILLIAMS TENDERED
The Cardinals also extended a tender offer to restricted free agent defensive tackle Xavier Williams, although the terms were not disclosed. Williams signed as an undrafted rookie in 2015. Williams played in a career-high 11 games this past season, with 20 total tackles.
Williams has the right to still seek a free-agent contract until he signs the tender offer. The Cardinals gave Williams an "original round" tender, worth $1.9 million. That would normally mean if Williams left as a free agent, the Cards would receive the same draft pick that was spent on him originally. Because Williams was undrafted, no pick would be transferred in that case.
The Cardinals did not tender offers to fellow restricted free agents TE Ifeanyi Momah or T Vinston Painter.
Images of the top rushers for the Cardinals in 2017