Amidst all the talk around the future of Lamar Jackson, the Baltimore Ravens face another dilemma about one of their stars. Should the Ravens re-sign Marcus Peters in free agency?
As it stands, Peters is a free agent. Over the last few years, he has formed a good partnership with All-Pro Marlon Humphrey. Their tandem has been fundamental to the Ravens defense this year, and is among one of the best cornerback partnerships in the league. However, with Peters’ play slowly declining, is it time for the Ravens to move on?
READ MORE: Ravens Offseason Preview – Quarterbacks
Should Ravens Re-Sign Impending Free Agent Marcus Peters?
The Case for Extension
Peters brings a certain fire and leadership that is truly palpable. While his playoff performance against the Cincinnati Bengals was average (at best), it was clear that his presence gave the defensive unit confidence and belief.
The fire that Peters plays with also gives the team an element of physicality out wide. Peters is not afraid to get tight and make tackles. He will do the tough work as well as the flashy plays. Those types of players are valuable, and the Ravens have a good one in Peters. His two forced fumbles this season are a testament to his toughness.
Peters’ intangible qualities translate fruitfully onto the field. His leadership is particularly necessary given the Ravens’ youth in their secondary. Approaching 30, Peters is one of the oldest members of the team’s defensive backs. He would be a great player to keep around to mentor the likes of Damarion Williams, Jalyn Armour-Davis, and, of course, Kyle Hamilton. Peters’ time in the league also gives him a plethora of playoff experience. This is something that the rest of the team’s secondary group does not have.
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) January 13, 2023
Perhaps the most important motivation for keeping Peters around is that he is still a good player. As a CB1, Peters would be below average. However, as the CB2 to Humphrey, Peters is very effective. The Ravens have an excellent cornerback tandem in Humphrey and Peters. Keeping the pair together would be wise given how effective they have been.
The Concern and Counterargument
Despite his intangible qualities, Marcus Peters was not that impressive for the Ravens. In 2022, Peters had just one interception. He was also the lowest-graded defensive player in Baltimore’s Wild Card matchup.
Perhaps the biggest concern is his availability. This season, Peters played 13 games. He missed all of 2021 and has not played a full season since 2019. He has only played in every game in three seasons in his career. With Peters now approaching the wrong side of 30, his injury history suggests that his regression could be steep.
Given the concerns around Peters’ availability and regression, it may make sense to let Peters walk and spend the cap elsewhere. After all, the Ravens already have an All-Pro CB1, so they are not in desperate need to keep Peters around at the end of the day.
Letting Peters go could let the Ravens bolster other positions. Most notably, the money could be spent on a wide receiver. The team has Williams and Armour-Davis who could step up next year, but they could also sign a cheaper CB2 or draft a younger guy to partner Humphrey.
The Likely Scenario
Peters’ need for an extension is no secret to the Baltimore front office and its fans. Besides Jackson, Peters is a priority for the Ravens currently.
Eric DeCosta on Marcus Peters: "I have a crazy respect for Marcus. One of my favorite guys on the team. … At some point, Marcus and I will probably speak and his agent is one of the best in the business."
— Sarah Ellison (@sgellison) January 19, 2023
Ultimately, given Peters’ role as a leader on the team, the Ravens will try to get an extension sorted. Of course the Ravens are unlikely to overpay for him. That is not typical of the team’s philosophy. However, GM Eric DeCosta values his secondary greatly. It means that he will be happier than most other GMs to keep his stout cornerback room together.