After watching the San Francisco 49ers say goodbye to long-time starting outside cornerback Emmanuel Moseley and 2022 nickel cornerback Jimmie Ward in free agency, CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin identified Marcus Peters as a veteran player John Lynch could sign to provide the defense with an instant impact.
“He may be past his prime, but Peters still brings lots of toughness to the secondary, and if San Francisco still considers itself an NFC contender, it could use added depth on the back end, where Emmanuel Moseley and Jimmie Ward departed via free agency,” Benjamin wrote. “The team did add Isaiah Oliver from Atlanta, but Peters’ outside experience could come in handy down the stretch.”
The 49ers have invested significantly in the secondary so far this offseason, drafting Ji’Ayir Brown and Darrell Luter Jr. in the third and fifth rounds respectively and signing Myles Hartsfield and Oliver at the behest of new defensive coordinator Steve Wilks.
Still, if the rotation of Luter Jr., Deommodore Lenoir, and Samuel Womack III don’t instill enough confidence in Lynch, Wilks and company, signing a veteran like Peters could serve as a solid stop-gap in 2023 and potentially beyond depending on how things shake out.
The Ravens Haven’t Closed the Door on Marcus Peters
Though a team like the 49ers could look to bring in Peters to compete for a starting cornerback spot, that doesn’t necessarily mean his former team, the Baltimore Ravens, have closed the door on bringing him back.
Asked by reporters earlier this month if the Ravens had closed the door on bringing back Peters, head coach John Harbaugh announced that the team was keeping their options open.
“I would say no,” Harbaugh said via NFL.com. “I don’t think you ever really close the door on any personnel move. Whoever it might be. You’d probably ask me about Marcus (Peters) and whatever other corners are out there. You don’t close the door on good players and good people, you just see how it goes.”
Initially acquired from the Los Angeles Rams for a 2020 fifth round pick and linebacker Kenny Young, Peters earned a spot in the Pro Bowl and on the All-Pro team right out of the gates and parlayed that success into a three-year, $42 million extension in Charm City. After tearing his ACL early in the 2021 season, Peters rebounded in 2022 to appear in 13 games and earned his highest PFF overall grade since 2019 with a 67.7 grade. If the Ravens decided Kyu Blu Kelly, the cornerback they drafted out of Stanford in the fifth round, isn’t ready for action as a rookie, Peters is certainly a candidate to return in the future.
The 49ers Have Been Linked to Marcus Peters Before
Benjamin isn’t the only writer who linked Peters to the 49ers this offseason, as Peter Panacy from Fansided’s Niner Noise had a similar idea in his “3 moves still left for 49ers to make after 2023 NFL Draft” story.
“Peters, 30 years old, bounced back nicely enough from a serious injury suffered in 2021 and is probably looking for the right situation,” Panacy wrote.
“If he likes the situation that San Francisco has, he’d surely be an upgrade over Lenoir and a safer bet than either of the two rookies, Brown or Luter.”
With teams now free to sign veterans to contracts without it impacting the compensatory pick formula, it’s safe to assume Peters will settle on a new team sooner than later. Whether he decides to commit early in the process or would instead prefer to wait until closer to Week 1 in order to see if any injuries pop up on a contending team, Peters will remain a name to watch for 49ers fans until he signs his next contract.