Proposed Trade Sends Colts 3-Time All-Pro Cornerback

Frank Reich

Getty Bleacher Report's Ian Wharton proposes Frank Reich and the Indianapolis Colts trade for a three-time All-Pro defender.

In 1984, Indianapolis became the new home for Baltimore’s football team. On June 17, NFL writer Ian Wharton of Bleacher Report proposed that the Indianapolis Colts take another football asset from the Charm City this offseason.

In an article proposing one trade every NFL team should offer before training camp, Wharton wrote that the Colts should trade for three-time All-Pro cornerback Marcus Peters.

“It’s unlikely we’d see two AFC playoff contenders make a swap involving an impact starter, but the Colts should try regardless,” Wharton wrote. “Ravens star cornerback Marcus Peters is coming off a torn ACL and is in the final year of his contract. Baltimore, which has only $6 million in cap space, could open $10 million to roll over to 2023 if it dealt Peters.

“The 29-year-old Peters was one of the most dangerous turnover threats in the NFL until his injury. He has 31 interceptions and 86 pass breakups in seven seasons and has become a much more trustworthy option in coverage compared to his first two years in the league.”

In his proposed trade, Wharton has the Colts acquiring Peters for a 2023 third-round selection.

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Colts’ Biggest Need on Defense

Peters is the type of player any defense would want, but it’s a little hard to see Colts general manager Chris Ballard giving up a Day 2 selection next year when he’s signed former Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore and Brandon Facyson to plug the holes at cornerback this offseason.

There’s some uncertainty at cornerback for the Colts with Kenny Moore potentially holding out during training camp, but as a nickel back, Peters wouldn’t be a true replacement for Moore even if Indianapolis traded for him. Plus, there’s no indication as of the middle of June that Moore’s contract dispute could lead to him missing regular season games.

Wharton argued that Peters would be an upgrade over Facyson.

“The current array of options across from Stephon Gilmore is a gamble, as Brandon Facyson hasn’t even put together a full season of consistent play yet,” Wharton wrote. “Peters would raise the ceiling of that unit considerably in 2022.”

Peters made first-team All-Pro in 2016 with the Kansas City Chiefs and in 2019 when he split the season with the Los Angeles Rams and Baltimore Ravens. He won the Rookie Defensive Player of the Year award, made second-team All-Pro and led the league with 8 interceptions as a rookie in 2015.

Indianapolis suddenly has a need on defense following the retirement of one of its starters on June 15. But it’s not at cornerback.

Khari Willis, the Colts’ starting strong safety the past two and a half seasons, announced he will retire to pursue a career in the ministry. He leaves a hole in the back end of the Indianapolis secondary alongside fellow starting safety Julian Blackmon, who is returning from tearing an Achillies last season.

Colts Trading for Star Wide Receiver?

It’s interesting that Wharton did not have the Colts acquiring a wide receiver in his trade proposal for the team.

Media personalities Pat McAfee and Darius Butler were both clamoring the week of June 13 for Ballard to make an offer to the Washington Commanders for wide receiver Terry McLaurin.

“I want to get this guy to Indy,” Butler said while appearing on The Pat McAfee Show on June 13. “We need this guy to Indy. Get Matty Ice a weapon. We’ve got the money, write the check [Jim] Irsay.

“Get this guy back home.”

McLaurin, who is from Indianapolis, did not attend Washington’s minicamp because he reportedly desires a new contract. The fourth-year receiver is set to make $2.79 million this season, but Spotrac projects his market value in free agency (if he were a free agent right now) to be about $21 million.

In each of the past two seasons, McLaurin has reached at least 75 catches and 1,000 receiving yards. As a rookie in 2019, he posted 15.8 yards per catch and 7 touchdowns.

With the Colts only possessing one receiver on their current roster that has posted more than 400 receiving yards in a season, McLaurin fits a bigger need in Indianapolis than Peters would.

But McLaurin did not appear anywhere on Wharton’s list of 32 trade proposes.

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