As he plays his final game for the Atlanta Falcons, RB/WR Cordarrelle Patterson has sent his career to a new level this season. With Patterson set to be a free agent in 2022, let’s examine what his next contract could look like and where his potential landing spots might be.
Cordarrelle Patterson landing spots
What a season it has been for Patterson in Atlanta this year. He has been an incredible dual-threat option for the Falcons with 607 rushing yards and 547 receiving yards. Patterson has also found the end zone 11 times, with 6 rushing and 5 receiving. Those numbers are certainly going to be intriguing for several teams if he reaches free agency in 2022.
This season, Patterson is playing on a one-year, $3 million contract. It seems extremely likely that both of those numbers will grow when he signs a contract this offseason, but knowing how to value him is tough. Spotrac has Patterson valued with a two-year, $9.1 million per year contract. The fact they have him compared to both RBs and WRs highlights the difficulties in projecting what a team might be willing to pay for Patterson.
His ability to line up in the backfield and as a WR makes Patterson unique. As an offensive weapon, he gives teams a mismatch against the defense. If they line him up as a back and teams go heavy, he can be split out to capitalize. Equally, if teams split him out wide, they can bring him in and try to exploit a matchup against lighter defensive fronts.
With that in mind, which teams could be in the market for a player with Patterson’s skill set?
The Miami Dolphins have the need and cap space to be an ideal landing spot for Patterson
The Dolphins really need to think about both their backfield and receiving weapons this offseason. Patterson could help with both of those areas and give whoever is the QB in 2022 a huge weapon to use.
Adding Patterson to a receiving group that already has Jaylen Waddle would be an intriguing combination. He would also give the Dolphins a much-needed solution at RB.
With an expected $75 million in cap space, the Dolphins do not need to worry if they slightly overpay for Patterson.
If it is Tua Tagovailoa under center in 2022, Patterson would give him an incredible second weapon to play with. The knock against Tua has been his ability to open up the offense, but with Patterson, he would have another weapon that can make plays in space for him.
The Los Angeles Chargers could add another dynamic piece to an already intriguing offense
The thought of Patterson in Los Angeles with their weapons is extremely intriguing. Putting Patterson into an offense with Austin Ekeler and Keenan Allen would be fascinating.
The ability to have both Ekeler and Patterson on the field together and split them out or use them in the backfield would make the Chargers a unique offense. They could easily transition from a run design to a pass play and allow Justin Herbert to run a no-huddle offense to wear down opponents.
The Chargers also have plenty of cap space and the need on offense to make this move make sense.
Mike Williams is set to be a free agent, and while Patterson would not be a direct replacement, he would be a replacement in terms of weapons on the offense. The Chargers would have a really fascinating corps if they added Patterson.
Patterson could be an intriguing complementary option for the Indianapolis Colts
It would be odd if anyone signed Patterson expecting him to be a bell-cow back. Most teams will view him as a complementary piece that can work alongside another RB.
On that note, imagine the sight of Patterson lining up in a backfield alongside Jonathan Taylor. That would be a really tough ask for any defense to defend. Both would be capable of taking the ball up the middle or going out and making plays in the passing game.
The Colts also have a need at WR in terms of a secondary option to Michael Pittman Jr. The young WR has developed as a deep threat, and now the Colts can focus on adding a dynamic playmaker at the position.
Patterson would certainly fit that mold. He would then provide a mismatch dropping back in alongside Taylor in the backfield.
The Pittsburgh Steelers could look to add more weapons
With JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Washington set to depart this offseason, the Steelers could look to add another receiving weapon. Patterson would be an intriguing replacement and a playmaker who a new QB can get the ball into the hands of. He would complement the skill set of Chase Claypool and Diontae Johnson nicely as a receiver.
Then, there is the ability to use Patterson to help Najee Harris. The Steelers have used Harris a lot this year, and that will not be sustainable. Therefore, a player like Patterson could come in and be the perfect foil. It is clear that a complementary back is not on the Steelers’ roster right now, so why not Patterson?
A return to the Chicago Bears could be an intriguing landing spot for Patterson
The Bears are going to need to add pass catchers for Justin Fields this offseason. Darnell Mooney is their only recognized receiver set to return, and they lost pass-catching back Tarik Cohen for the entire season. Could Patterson come back and work alongside David Montgomery to provide Fields with a dynamic receiving weapon?
The fit would be ideal to give the Bears more zip both as a receiver and out of the backfield. Patterson is a natural mismatch, and whoever is the head coach in Chicago next season needs to do everything he can to help Fields.