Patrick Peterson, Leonard Williams drawing interest ahead of trade deadline

Ben WeinribYahoo Sports Contributor
<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nfl/teams/ny-jets/" data-ylk="slk:Jets">Jets</a> defensive lineman <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nfl/players/28394/" data-ylk="slk:Leonard Williams">Leonard Williams</a> is set to hit unrestricted free agency this offseason. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
Jets defensive lineman Leonard Williams is set to hit unrestricted free agency this offseason. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

With the Oct. 29 trade deadline approaching, NFL teams are looking to beef up their defenses ahead of a playoff run. And while Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey may not be on the block, there are plenty of other intriguing defenders drawing interest.

According to two reports from ESPN, Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson and New York Jets defensive lineman Leonard Williams are two of the most popular names.

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Although neither team appears eager to move their star defenders, both teams are off to poor starts. After finishing with two of the three worst records last season, the Jets are 0-4 and the Cards are 1-3-1.

Leonard Williams could fetch a huge haul

Williams has had an up-and-down career with the Jets since they selected him sixth overall in the 2015 draft out of USC. He made a Pro Bowl in his second season at 22 but has only seven combined sacks since 2017. Still, those numbers belie the fact that he ranks 13th in the league since 2015 with 88 quarterback hits.

Making $14.2 million this season, Williams is set to hit unrestricted free agency this offseason. Offseason reports indicated that the Jets did not want to trade Williams before, but they have not made much progress on a big extension.

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If Williams were to leave in free agency, the team would likely recoup a compensatory third-round draft pick, so they’ll be looking for more than that in a return. And given that he’s not making a public request for a trade, the team has more leverage than the Houston Texans did when they only got a third-rounder and two reserves.

Another very similar trade was when the Jags traded former No. 3 overall pick Dante Fowler Jr. to the Los Angeles Rams for a third- and fifth-rounder last October. Fowler wound up staying with the Rams on a one-year, $9 million deal.

Patrick Peterson returning from six-game suspension

Peterson has been away from the Cardinals to start the season because of a six-game suspension for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy, and it’s really showing. Arizona has fallen from a top-five pass defense team to a bottom-10 unit.

The Cardinals have been fending off trade offers for Peterson for years, but Adam Schefter has reported another round of solicitations this year.

Peterson is under contract for one more season at a $13.2 million cap hit, so there's not nearly as much urgency to move him either. If the Cardinals did decide to move the eight-time Pro Bowler, they could conceivably fetch a first-round pick, as the Miami Dolphins did for Minkah Fitzpatrick in September.

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