The New York Giants have ticked most boxes so far during 2023 NFL free agency. General manager Joe Schoen has added veterans at inside linebacker, wide receiver and along the defensive line, but there’s still one position sorely lacking reinforcements.
Cornerback needs an infusion of talent, something the Giants would get from signing Marcus Peters. The two-time All-Pro is well known to Giants’ defensive coordinator Don ‘Wink’ Martindale, who coached Peters with the Baltimore Ravens.
Peters has the pedigree the Giants need on the back end, and Dan Duggan of The Athletic has twice mentioned the 30-year-old as a “potential” fit for Big Blue. Duggan said Peters and Rock Ya-Sin “stand out as potential targets” on Tuesday, March 21. The same writer added that “Peters and Anthony Averett stick out as free agents with connections to defensive coordinator Wink Martindale” on Thursday, March 23.
Although his performances declined somewhat during 2022, Peters is still an established and opportunistic cover man able to cope with the steady diet of man coverage Martindale requires for his blitz-heavy scheme.
3-Time Pro-Bowler a Natural Fit for Giants
Martindale’s defense “played more man coverage than any team last season,” according to Duggan. It means there’s always a heavy burden on cornerbacks like Adoree’ Jackson.
He’s the closest the Giants have to a shutdown corner, but things aren’t as strong away from Jackson. Peters would solve the problem, even though he was beaten more than once last season, notably when the Jacksonville Jaguars overcame the Ravens 28-27 in Week 12.
The veteran gave up two touchdowns, including this one to running back JaMycal Hasty, highlighted by SB Nation’s JP Acosta:
As Acosta pointed out, Peters was burned in zone coverage on this play. He’s more comfortable playing man, although the eight-year pro surrendered seven touchdowns last season, while allowing a rating of 113.7 when targeted, per Pro Football Reference.
Peters was far from his best, but he was also just one year removed from tearing his ACL. Reuniting with Martindale would surely prompt a return to form, since Peters reached the Pro Bowl and earned All-Pro honors on the play-caller’s watch in 2019.
The only obstacle to making this deal happen is the potential cost. Peters is projected by Spotrac.com to have a market value of $9.8 million annually for two years.
Working out a shorter-term contract would be in the interests of both Peters and the Giants, to ensure Martindale’s defense doesn’t enter the new season still lacking star power at a vital position.
Options Thin at Key Position
Aside from Jackson, the Giants handed a three-year deal to former Duke standout Leonard Johnson, who has yet to play a down in the NFL, per ESPN’s Jordan Raanan. A torn ACL prevented Johnson from being drafted, but Amani Oruwariye has also arrived from the Detroit Lions, where he “lost his starting job last year on one of the league’s worst passing defenses,” according to Raanan.
Cor’Dale Flott and Nick McCloud are the other options, while Fabian Moreau remains a free agent. The veteran market did yield Bobby McCain from NFC East rivals the Washington Commanders, but the versatile defensive back revealed he’s been “brought in to play safety,” per Duggan:
McCain has experience at cornerback, both in the slot and on the outside, but he’s needed elsewhere after safety Julian Love signed with the Seattle Seahawks. It leaves the Giants still short at corner, a problem Peters would solve on an incentivised one-year contract.