When watching professional sports, fans will inevitably come across a player with otherworldly abilities who ultimately falls short of reaching their full potential due to their moribund teams. Every season, the National Football League has its fair share of players who fit that mold.
Both are at different phases of their respective careers yet they hold one unfortunate similarity in wasted productivity.
In Odell Beckham Jr. we see an incredibly athletic wide receiver with speed, strength and great hands. Though he missed much of last season with an ankle injury, he is easily on course for his fourth 1,000-yard season in a five year career.
New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is reportedly prepared to hold out if he and the team are unable to agree on a contract extension. Is Odell Beckham threatening a holdout? Looks like his standoff with the Giants has begun …
His 649 receiving yards is fourth in the NFL, and he’s second in career receiving yards per game in the history of the league with 93.9 yards per. He has had his fair share of off-field antics that drew the ire of team owner John Mara, but there’s nothing that can be said to disparage his ability.
Patrick Peterson is easily the very best at his position over the past eight years and is already at 29 solo tackles and 2 interceptions after seven games.
Peterson is already one of the best cover corners, but is also one of the best tackling cornerbacks in the National Football League with an exemplary resume. 7 Pro Bowls in 7 years and he’s recorded 335 solo tackles to date over the course of an illustrious eight-year career.
As Peterson fights the Cardinals for a trade, he’s the corner every team dreams of having. He’s like Troy Vincent in his heyday with the Miami Dolphins, but far more durable.
At one time he and Tyrann Mathieu reigned as one of the most potent corner combos in the league. He’s gone from the hopes of competing in Super Bowls to watching the Arizona Cardinals get out to a 1-6 record.
At 28 years old, Peterson is nearing the point at which most really good cornerbacks begin to deteriorate to some degree. Physical attrition occurs either via injury or natural wear and tear.
Though failed contract re-negotiations with three years remaining on his contract are being blamed, it could just have easily been that he’s tired of toiling in the desert in relative obscurity, or being witness to how most of teammate Larry Fitzgerald’s prime years were wasted on non-contending endeavors.
Peterson isn’t scheduled to be a free agent until 2021. He’ll be past 31. A lot can happen between then and now for a football player so I don’t blame him one bit for speaking up.
All things considered, it would be great if Peterson could show up on the Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Los Angeles Chargers or another trendy team on the cusp of challenging for a title. But the fact remains that he’s at the mercy of the franchise.
Earlier this month, we entertained the idea of Cardinals corner Patrick Peterson being the next Deion Sanders, which is something of a fad amongst their fans. The comparisons are warranted though, as his athleticism and return skills are reminiscent of Prime Time back in his day. Cardinals general manager Steve Keim thinks so, too.
The reasons for their respective struggles are varied. Beckham hits the field with an aging quarterback who’s certain to be elected into the Hall of Fame one day, but is falling apart before our eyes. Eli Manning is also one of the most sacked QBs in the NFL over the past three years.
With few other weapons on the outside, teams game plan for Beckham, but he’s still able to be productive. But to what avail when your squad is squid bait? Peterson’s greatness is being diluted by being on a really bad team.
With only one win this season and little hope of a turnaround, the Giants and the Cardinals may as well get ready for the NFL draft.
These are but two contemporary instances of this age-old scenario that will see greatness squandered on mismanaged, poorly manned or otherwise pedestrian teams, and they may go down in history as two of the most egregious examples in the past 20 years.