<
>

Morning Ram-blings: Giveaway games?

EARTH CITY, Mo. -- The seemingly never-ending debate of which cornerback is the NFL's best added another log to the fire late Tuesday night when Arizona's Patrick Peterson signed a record-setting contract.

The deal pays Peterson just shy of $50 million guaranteed with a total value of $70 million should he see it through. As ESPN.com Arizona Cardinals reporter Josh Weinfuss writes, the deal was an obvious move for the Cardinals, who retain their best player for the next five years.

The fallout of Peterson's deal should last for a while as other teams, including the St. Louis Rams, must begin considering extending their first-round picks from the 2011 draft class. There's time for that later, as well. But something else involving Peterson caught my eye Wednesday morning.

Speaking to USA Today, Peterson discussed the games against NFC West opponents he felt the Cardinals "gave away" in 2013 and how they must rectify that problem to take the next step in 2014.

One of the games Peterson mentions, of course, is the season-opening loss to the Rams in St. Louis.

"And lord knows we gave the Rams the first game we played them," Peterson told the paper.

The Rams won that game 27-24 with a stirring fourth-quarter comeback fueled by a key takeaway. In some sense, Arizona did indeed give away that game and it's clear why Peterson would be bothered by it now considering Arizona finished 10-6 and still came up short of the postseason.

But Peterson should keep in mind that life in the NFC West, the league's toughest neighborhood, is not going to be easy. Saying the Cardinals "gave away" any games is a disservice to the level of competition in the division. If nothing else, even if he feels that way, there's no reason to give any of the other NFC West contender more ammunition for the six heavyweight slugfests that will play out this season.

I.C.Y.M.I.

A roundup of Wednesday's Rams stories appearing on ESPN.com. ... In the Ram-blings, we began the day with a closer look at Grantland's All Bad Contracts team. ... In this week's Buzz video, I discussed the early strong start of the defense and how the offense could even things up with pads on. ... From there, we turned our attention to the Rams' best player, defensive end Robert Quinn and his belief that he's only going to get better. ... Next, we looked at how special teams coach John Fassel believes kicker Greg Zuerlein can improve in 2014. ... We closed the team's day off with a look at former NFL executive Phil Savage's impressions of the Rams from a Tuesday camp visit.

Elsewhere: