While the Baltimore Ravens could probably use some stability in 2022 after losing several starters, including multiple All-Pros, to injury this year, but one observer thinks the Ravens could make a splash in the trade market before the start of next season.
Bleacher Report’s Chris Roling included the Ravens in two blockbuster trades that he thinks should take place before the start of the 2022 season, with one sending All-Pro cornerback Marcus Peters to the Arizona Cardinals.
Roling also mentioned the Ravens as a potential suitor for one of the Washington Football Team’s first-round defensive linemen.
Peters, who suffered a torn ACL just before the start of the 2021 regular season, has been one of Baltimore’s best defenders since his arrival in a 2019 midseason trade.
But Roling thinks that the Ravens would be just fine without Peters, writing:
The Baltimore Ravens have survived just fine without the 28-year-old Peters this season, sticking in the hunt for the AFC’s top seed while allowing an average of just 21.7 points per game, a top-10 mark. Fellow starting corner Marlon Humphrey just suffered a season-ending pec injury in Week 13, but his return next year, plus additions via free agency and the draft, could excuse the team looking to still move Peters.
Does Trading Peters Make Sense for Baltimore?
While Roling’s statistics are accurate, they don’t exactly tell the entire story of the Ravens’ defense this year. Sure, the Ravens have allowed the ninth-fewest points through Week 13, but they’ve also surrendered 3,269 passing yards, the fourth-most by any defense in the league. Baltimore has also struggled to generate turnovers, with just 10 takeaways and five interceptions on the year. It’s unlikely that those numbers look much better by the end of the year with Humphrey sidelined with a torn pectoral muscle.
That’s the impact of having a two-time All-Pro cornerback on the sideline all season. Not only has Peters been among the league’s best cornerbacks since he was a first-round pick in 2015, he’s also one of the NFL’s premier ballhawks, with 31 career interceptions across just 90 games. He’s had seven as a Raven, including two that he returned for touchdowns, and it’s clear that Baltimore is missing his playmaking ability.
If Peters were to leave, it’s unclear who would step up in his place at cornerback. Anthony Averett’s contract is up after this season, and despite some struggles, he could still garner a decent contract from other teams in free agency that the Ravens may not be willing or able to match. Veteran Jimmy Smith is too often injured to be relied upon, and Chris Westry is still unproven as a starter.
Potential Compensation for Peters
Roling suggested that the Cardinals could give up a second-round pick for Peters, which is a decent return for a 28-year-old cornerback who has the 10th-largest contract as his position, per Spotrac.
But the Cardinals’ success this season would likely place that draft pick towards the end of the second round, which may not be enough for the Ravens to make the deal.
Though they acquired Peters on the cheap in 2019 – linebacker Kenny Young, a 2018 fourth-rounder, and a 2020 fifth-round pick was the Rams’ compensation – he’s earned another Pro Bowl selection and All-Pro nod since then.
Despite a rollercoaster of a 2021 season, the Ravens still firmly see themselves as Super Bowl contenders in future seasons, so letting a top cornerback go after so many injuries at the position this year would likely require an offer they couldn’t refuse.