The one constant on the Cardinals' defense over the years has been Patrick Peterson. That was the annual story -- who the Cards were going to find to start at cornerback across from Pat P. With the news Peterson has been suspended the first six games of the regular season, the story is now who exactly is going to play for Peterson.
For all the drama around Peterson of late, this absolutely came out of left field. Peterson doesn't miss games. Ever. He hasn't since coming into the league in 2011. Now the Cards will be scrambling the first half of the season, and the fact Byron Murphy (as noted in the most recent Flight Plan) was so highly thought of and still there in the second round looks timely to say the least. The Cards have some options beyond Murphy on the roster, like David Amerson and Tramaine Brock Sr., guys who have started in the league. Murphy still makes a lot of sense, though. That's what the 33rd overall pick is for. The Cards at least have the entirety of OTAs and minicamp to figure out what pieces will work where.
What this all means for Peterson is left up in the air. He has two years left on his contract. The Cards need him on defense. Of the six games he'll miss, four of them are at home. He'll miss games against some talented passing teams -- Matt Stafford and the Lions, Matt Ryan and the Falcons, Cam Newton and the Panthers along with one of the Russell Wilson games. Not having the lockdown corner available for A.J. Green and Julio Jones with the Bengals and Falcons, respectively, will change how defensive coordinator Vance Joseph can approach those games. Peterson can't make the Pro Bowl based on the rules (although missing six of 16 games probably ended that thought anyway), which I know on a personal level will be rough.
But Peterson will have 10 games to make a difference. (No, I don't think a trade will happen, if you're gonna ask.) When Daryl Washington's initial suspension in 2013 cost him the first four games of that season, he came back to play very well for the balance of Bruce Arians' first season. The Cardinals and Peterson have to hope Peterson will do the same. What happens between then and now? That'll be a story to watch.