A new deal allowing Marcus Petersto remain in Baltimore could still be in the cards. The veteran corner has other options to consider, however, including a move to the Raiders.
Peters is visiting Las Vegas today, reports Vic Tafur of The Athletic (Twitter link). That news comes not long after Ravens head coach John Harbaugh confirmed Baltimore is still open to re-signing the 30-year-old at some point this offseason. The Raiders represent a logical landing spot if a new Ravens deal is not worked out, though.
Vegas saw 2022 trade acquisition Rock Ya-Sinsign with the Ravens earlier this week, giving them a potential Peters replacement. The former’s departure came after Anthony Averett‘s deal expired, leaving another vacancy at the CB spot for the Raiders; Averett remains unsigned. Both he and Ya-Sin occupied notable roles during their time with the Raiders, a team which struggled against the pass on defense last season.
That resulted in a number of free agent cornerback additions so far this offseason, including a reunion with Brandon Facyson and deals with Duke Shelley and David Long. The Raiders also used a fourth-round pick in the draft to add Jakorian Bennett, who should be in line for at least a rotational role for years to come as the team looks to rebuild on the backend. The signing of safety Marcus Eppscould go a long way on that front, but a healthy Peters likely would as well.
The two-time All-Pro has remained one of the league’s top ballhawks for much of his career, notching 32 interceptions in 104 career games. He missed all of 2021 with a torn ACL, however, and struggled upon his return to the field last season with only one pick and poor performances in coverage. If he were to return to his pre-injury form, though, a short-term deal at a modest rate could prove to be worth the risk for Vegas. As the post-draft wave of free agency continues, Peters shouldn’t have to wait much longer to sign his next deal, with the Raiders or another team.
Baltimore entered (and exited) the draft with a roster hole at the cornerback position. They appeared to fill it with the signing of Rock Ya-Sin, but further moves could be coming, including a reunion with a notable veteran still on the market.
Head coach John Harbaugh indicated, via Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic, that the Ravens could still be in search of an addition to their CB room (subscription required). He specifically named Marcus Peters, who has spent three-plus years in Baltimore, as a potential target. “You don’t close the door on good players and good people,” Harbaugh said. “We’ll see how it goes.”
Peters, 30, was acquired in a trade with the Rams in 2019, a move which proved to be fruitful for Baltimore in their attempt to add a productive compliment to Marlon Humphrey. Peters notched three interceptions in 10 games that year, and signed a three-year, $42MM deal in the offseason. His performance the following season pointed to that investment being a sound one.
The former Chiefs first-rounder racked up four interceptions in 2020, adding further to his status as the league’s premier ball hawk at the position. An ACL tear cost him the entire 2021 campaign, however, and he appeared to be less than fully recovered from the injury this past season. Peters had just one interception in 2022 (the lowest total of his career), while allowing seven touchdowns in coverage and encountering penalty trouble.
The two-time All-Pro did still log a 92% snap share, however, making him a key figure in the Ravens’ secondary. Baltimore was reportedly looking to work out a deal with Peters before free agency, one which would surely come in at a lower figure than the $14MM AAV of his previous one. The Washington product has not received much interest from the Ravens or another team since then, however.
Fifth-rounder Kyu Blu Kelly was the lone addition made at the CB spot by the Ravens in the draft, which led to the expectation that a veteran move would soon follow. To no surprise, Ya-Sin followed up a second visit with the team by inking a one-year, $6MM contract to give them team a new starting option. Peters remains unsigned into the third wave of free agency, along with the likes of Shaquill Griffin, Eli Apple, Troy Hilland Ronald Darby. He may need to find a new home for 2023 depending on where the other top options land, but the possibility remains for Peters to continue his tenure in Baltimore.
The Ravens have plenty to focus on this offseason in free agency, with quarterback Lamar Jackson obviously taking up most of their attention, but the team has been working to keep another key player off the open market, according to Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic. General manager Eric DeCosta told the media that he’s been in talks with cornerback Marcus Peters and his representation about remaining in Baltimore.
Peters has been a sparkplug defender ever since winning Defensive Rookie of the Year and leading the league in interceptions in 2015. He made key plays for the Chiefs and Rams before finding his way to Baltimore to form one of the league’s top cornerback duos with Marlon Humphrey. He’s been named a first-team All-Pro twice in his career and is a three-time Pro Bowl selection.
Peters has long been a playmaker in the league, recording at least three interceptions in every season of his career except one. Over his eight years in the league, only seven of which saw him on the field, Peters has reeled in 32 picks with an astounding 822 return yards and six return touchdowns. He has plenty of accolades throughout his career, but with free agency looming, the focus will be on the past two seasons, in which Peters has missed 20 of a possible 33 games.
There’s no denying the talent and passion that Peters possesses, but after a torn ACL sidelined him five days before the 2021 season, Peters’s return to the league in 2022 was perhaps the worst statistical year of his career. In his first season back from injury, Peters only nabbed one interception and recorded a career-low six passes defensed. He still made a number of plays for the Ravens, but on a Baltimore defense that saw a few double-digit leads disappear late in games, Peters sometimes found himself liable for big plays.
Now facing free agency, Peters enters an interesting scenario. If the two most recent years were not taken into consideration, Peters would easily be a top candidate to earn the highest new contract for a free agent cornerback this offseason. He will be competing for that honor with Giants cornerback James Bradberry and Patriots cornerback Jonathan Jones. All are around the same age, but Bradberry and Jones both had much stronger seasons than Peters in 2022.
It will be interesting to see how the situation plays out between Baltimore and Peters before he even gets to free agency. The Ravens enjoyed success in the secondary when Peters, Humphrey, and safeties Chuck Clark and Marcus Williams were on the field this season. When Peters missed all of 2021, though, the Ravens allowed the most passing yards in the NFL. Their depth behind Peters and Humphrey didn’t improve much in 2022, and if Peters departs in free agency, cornerback immediately becomes a top priority for Baltimore.
The struggles the Ravens have had at cornerback behind Peters makes a new deal crucial. The team has had no issue in the past with shelling out dough on defense, much to the detriment of the offense, and at cornerback in particular. They can certainly take a chance on one of the top cornerback prospects in this year’s draft, but why take the risk if you believe Peters can return to form in 2023? The Ravens may also throw the kitchen sink at Los Angeles if Jalen Ramsey becomes available via trade, as has been rumored. Those two options provide the Ravens with the best chance to field a competent secondary, and extending Peters is likely cheaper than trading for and extending Ramsey.
There should be a mutual interest in the two parties reaching new agreement. For Peters, the Ravens will likely offer him a respectable contract due to his known chemistry and familiarity with the team, while other teams may low-ball the veteran cornerback because of his recent struggles. For the Ravens, they may get a discount, as opposed to if they went out and tried to sign Bradberry or Jones, and, in return, give Peters another chance to regain his All-Pro, ball-hawking status.
Regardless, it will be an interesting situation on which to keep an eye. Despite all the focus in Baltimore falling on the offensive side of the ball, Peters is yet another piece that the Ravens have found they struggle to win without. The team needs a top cornerback across from Humphrey, but how much are they willing to pay for one.
In a press conference this past Thursday, Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta spoke to the future of several Ravens players as the team heads into the offseason. Although the free agency of quarterback Lamar Jackson is obviously the main headline of Baltimore’s offseason, DeCosta still has plenty on his plate from key free agents like cornerback Marcus Peters and offensive guard Ben Powers to veterans flirting with retirement like defensive tackle Calais Campbell.
Peters is headed towards free agency this offseason after three seasons in Baltimore. The Ravens have been fairly top-heavy at the cornerback position in the past few years with Peters and Marlon Humphrey. They invested some draft capital in the position last year, selecting rookies Jalyn Armour-Davis and Damarion Williams, but due to experience and injuries, they were still forced to rely on contributions from the likes of Daryl Worley and Kevon Seymour. The team signed free agent Kyle Fuller in the offseason, but a Week 1 knee injury knocked him out for the year. DeCosta hinted that the team will continue to try and add more talent at cornerback regardless of whether or not they are able to re-sign Peters.
Powers continued his play this year as a full-time starter and had his best NFL season in a contract year. He may follow the likes of former Ravens’ linemen like Ryan Jensen and Kelechi Osemele, who priced themselves out of a new contract in Baltimore in the past.
The Ravens were able to sign trade acquisition Roquan Smith to a long-term deal and now are faced with the contract situation of fellow linebacker Patrick Queen. Queen’s play elevated substantially while playing alongside Smith and has the Ravens considering his future going into this offseason. DeCosta said he isn’t ready to announce that they will pick up Queen’s fifth-year option, but he made sure to clarify that Smith’s contract won’t preclude them from signing Queen long-term.
Lastly, the Ravens have two esteemed veterans that could consider hanging up their cleats. Campbell mulled retirement last season and will likely kick the idea around a bit once again this offseason. Pass rusher Justin Houston is under contract for another season but could potentially call it a career. He stated recently that he does intend to keep playing, and both athletes met with DeCosta before leaving town for the offseason.
Here are a few more rumors from around the AFC North, starting with the main storyline for the offseason in Charm City:
Ryan Clark referenced a debate on ESPN’s first take recently about the details of offers made to Jackson. A source provided knowledge that the Ravens’ initial offer had $113MM in guaranteed money and that offer was eventually upped to $133MM. That guaranteed amount doesn’t come anywhere close to Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson‘s $230MM guaranteed contract, but the second offer would be the most guaranteed money to any quarterback in the NFL besides Watson.
The Steelers’ coaching staff is set to undergo some changes this offseason. According to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, one coach on his way out is assistant wide receivers coach Blaine Stewart who is set to join the staff at West Virginia University. Stewart’s father, Bill, served as head coach of the Mountaineers from 2008-10.
The Buccaneers parted ways with offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich at the end of this season. The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly speculated that, unless Leftwich finds work elsewhere as an offensive play caller, the former Steelers quarterback could find a role as an offensive assistant on Mike Tomlin‘s staff. Kaboly posits that a role as senior offensive assistant/passing-game coordinator could be in play for Leftwich. Leftwich would essentially be a coordinator-in-waiting as current offensive coordinator Matt Canada is in the final year of his contract.
December 19th, 2022 at 10:47am CST by Adam La Rose
The Ravens’ offense was a talking point after their loss to the Browns on Saturday, but the team’s defense suffered a notable loss. Cornerback Marcus Petersleft the game with what has been diagnosed as a mild calf strain (Twitter link via NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport).
Rapoport adds that Peters is expected to miss some time, but the injury is not considered long-term. While that can generally be considered good news, any absence from the 29-year-old would be significant. Peters had essentially played on an every-snap basis this season prior to suffering the injury.
The return of the former first-rounder this fall was a welcomed sight for Baltimore, after he missed the entire 2021 campaign with a torn ACL. That gave the team their preferred duo of Peters and Marlon Humphreyon the perimeter, though the former has not seen a return to his All-Pro form in 2022. Peters – the NFL’s interceptions leader since entering the league in 2015 – has just one pick on the campaign. He has added six pass deflections and a pair of forced fumbles along the way.
In coverage, the two-time Pro Bowler has also had a less-than-stellar year. Peters has allowed seven touchdowns and a passer rating over 116 as the nearest defender, both the worst marks of his career. His play has, in part, contributed to Baltimore’s overall struggles against the pass – they rank 25th in the league with an average of 241 yards allowed on average – especially compared to the rest of their defensive statistics.
At 9-5, the Ravens lost their lead in the AFC North during the weekend, but they are still well-positioned to make the postseason. A healthy Peters, in spite of his underwhelming performance to date, would be significant for the team in the final week or so of the regular season and the playoffs, should he be available at that time.
Peters suffered a torn ACL just four days before the Ravens’ season opener last year, filing into a line of falling dominos that took out much of the Ravens’ running back and cornerback rooms. He would miss the entire season after only sitting out five games in his previous six seasons.
The Ravens will be ecstatic at the return of their ball-hawk safety. While opposite-side starter Marlon Humphrey excels at separating ball-carriers from the football with forced fumbles, Peters is a dying breed of cornerback that excels in making sure the ball never gets to the receiver. He has seven interceptions in 24 games with the Ravens and, even though he missed all of last season, no one in the league has more interceptions since Peters entered the league than his own 31 picks.
Baltimore also announced the return of second-year safety Ar’Darius Washington from the PUP list. Washington impressed as an undrafted player out of TCU last year by making the Ravens’ final 53-man roster. He appeared in three games before a broken foot ended his season prematurely. Washington will return to an extremely deep safety room that currently houses Marcus Williams, Chuck Clark, first-round rookie Kyle Hamilton, Tony Jefferson, and Geno Stone.
The Ravens’ 2021 season was derailed by injuries, and the team is still feeling the effects of it as training camp opens up. The team announced on Friday that six players have been placed on the active/PUP list.
On offense, left tackle Ronnie Stanleyis among the players listed. The former All-Pro has played in just one game since October of 2020 due to multiple ankle surgeries. The team has remained optimistic that, unlike last season, a more cautious offseason approach can keep him on the field permanently once the regular season begins. Baltimore has several options to replace him if he remains sidelined, including veteran Ja’Wuan James– himself no stranger to injury problems.
Not surprisingly, running back J.K. Dobbinsis also on the list. It was reported earlier this week that the 23-year-old might not be fully recovered from his ACL tear in time for the regular season opener. The progress of his rehab will be worth watching closely during camp, as is the case for fellow back Gus Edwards. He, like Dobbins, missed the 2021 season in its entirety, putting his September availability in question. Free agent signing Mike Davisand sixth-round rookie Tyler Badiecould be in line for significant reps in camp.
Two key defenders are on the list as well. Cornerback Marcus Peterswas named as a PUP candidate earlier this month, as he continues to recover from a torn ACL suffered in the preseason. His return would be welcomed by the Ravens, who struggled mightily against the pass in 2021 and have a new-look CB room. The other member of the secondary on the list is safety Ar’Darius Washington, a former UDFA in contention for a backup role.
Finally, outside linebacker Tyus Bowserrepresents another unsurprising name on the list. The Ravens jack-of-all-trades edge rusher suffered a torn Achilles in the regular season finale, leaving his Week 1 availability in doubt throughout the offseason. With second-rounder David Ojabodealing with the same ailment, Bowsers’ September health will be a key talking point in the build-up to the season.
Any of the above players can be activated at any time, though the chances of that happening in the near future is likely lower than that of many other PUP players previously announced, given the severity of many of these injuries.
Cornerback was one of the hardest-hit positions during the Ravens’ injury-plagued 2021 campaign. If their two former All-Pros at that spot can return to form this season, though, the team’s defense could be well-positioned for a bounce back.
Much will therefore depend on the health and play of Marcus Peters. The 29-year-old missed all of last season due to a torn ACL he suffered during the preseason. His absence was compounded by the later loss of Marlon Humphrey, as Baltimore ended the season on a six-game losing streak which cost them a playoff berth. Peters has been successfully recovering during the offseason, however; head coach John Harbaugh said in May that his rehab was “coming along really well.”
Still, as The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec notes (subscription required), Peters is one of several Ravens who are candidates to begin training camp on the PUP list. That will raise questions about his Week 1 availability for a time, but assuming he is cleared by the start of the regular season, attention will quickly turn to his financial situation.
Peters has one year remaining on his current deal, at a cap hit of $15.5MM. That figure ranks third in the league this season amongst corners, which stands out for Baltimore given their tight salary cap situation. As a result, Zrebiec names him as a player the Ravens could look to extend “sooner rather than later.” The team has already done so previously, giving him a new three-year deal in December of 2019.
However, as Zrebiec points out, the team will in all likelihood wait to see how well he plays upon returning from such a significant injury. If he plays at the Pro Bowl level he has through much of his time in Charm City, a new contract giving him security for the short- or intermediate-term future (and, perhaps, opening up some financial wiggle room for the team in the process) would make sense. However, if his knee shows ill effects, that would couple with his age to give the Ravens pause regarding another significant investment in him.
As could be expected, the salary figures here start below the quarterbacks. A few pass rushers, however, are tied to notable cap hits. Those numbers that check in within the top 20 leaguewide regardless of position. With the exception of true nose tackles and pure slot cornerbacks, every defensive position is represented here.
Here are the top cap figures on the defensive side for the ’22 season:
Illustrating how much the cap has climbed over the past several seasons, T.J. Watt is tied to a number nearly twice that of J.J. Watt, who has been tied to $16.7MM-per-year (a defender-record number in 2014) and $14MM-AAV deals as a pro. Trailing his older brother in Defensive Player of the Year honors, T.J. is signed to an edge defender-record $28MM-per-year accord.
Jones’ four-year Chiefs deal vaults from an $8.5MM cap number in 2021 to the league’s second-highest defensive figure this year. The standout defensive tackle’s cap hit accompanies Patrick Mahomes‘ $35.79MM number, which is well north of his 2021 figure, on Kansas City’s new-look payroll.
After two franchise tags, Williams scored a monster extension in 2021. The well-paid Giants D-lineman’s cap number this year is way up from his 2021 number ($9.4MM).
It is not certain Deion Joneswill be back with the Falcons, who have jettisoned other Super Bowl LI cornerstones from the roster since the current regime took over in 2021. But they would save just $1MM were they to release the seventh-year linebacker.
To date, this represents the high-water mark for Mosley cap hits on his Jets deal, which at the time (2019) began a sea change for off-ball linebacker contracts. Mosley’s cap hit, on a pact that runs through 2024 because of the linebacker opting out of the 2020 season, increased by $10MM from 2021-22.
Hargrave is one of five Eagles pass rushers signed to veteran contracts. The ex-Steeler’s 2021 deal accompanies Brandon Graham, Josh Sweat, Haason Reddick, and Fletcher Cox‘s new agreement on Philadelphia’s defensive front. As cap hits do not reflect average salaries, Hargrave is the only member of this quartet tied to an eight-figure cap number in 2022.
Quinn has also been connected to a departure, with the 31-year-old pass rusher skipping minicamp after it became known he would like to be traded away from the rebuilding team. His cap hit tops the Bears’ payroll. The Bears would save $12.9MM by trading Quinn, should another team sign up for taking on his full 2022 base salary.
The Ravens’ 2021 season was derailed by injuries on both sides of the ball. A large part of the reason for the team’s late-season collapse was the loss of Marlon Humphreymid-year, after Marcus Peterswas injured before the campaign began.
Things are looking up for both of them on the injury front, though, as noted by Coral Smith of NFL.com. Head coach John Harbaugh relayed last week that the former had returned to practice during OTAs. He suffered a torn pectoral muscle towards the end of the season, marking another significant blow to Baltimore’s secondary. The team lost six straight contests to close out the campaign, and ranked last in the league against the pass.
The loss of Humphrey was of course exacerbated by the fact that Peters tore his ACL during practice in the preseason. Harbaugh said, however, that his rehab is “coming along really well”. The return of both Pro Bowlers to the lineup – let alone to the form they have both showed in recent years – would complement the various moves the team has made on the backend of its defense.
Baltimore’s top free agent signing was safety Marcus Williams, who is set to spend plenty of time alongside first-rounder Kyle Hamilton. While the presence of those two has led to teams calling about veteran Chuck Clark, the team has made no indication they intend to move him. As for the CB room, Baltimore added mid-round depth in the draft, and signed veteran Kyle Fullerlast week.
That overhaul of the unit is cause for optimism at this point, but the health of Humphrey and Peters remains the most important question to be answered. Given the team’s investment in the pair (the former ranks fourth in the league in average salary amongst corners, while the latter sits 12th), they will play a crucial role in its ability to rebound in 2022. At the moment, at least, they are on track to resume their status as integral pieces to Baltimore’s roster.