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Baltimore Ravens

Ravens CB Marcus Peters expected to return in 2022; GM Eric DeCosta douses Antonio Brown speculation | NOTES

Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta said Friday that he expects Marcus Peters to return in 2022, quieting speculation that the cornerback could be a salary cap casualty this offseason.

DeCosta’s comments at his end-of-season news conference echoed those from coach John Harbaugh, who said Monday that the Ravens would get “two first-round-pick corners back” next season. Peters, one of the NFL’s best ball hawks, missed all of the 2021 season with a torn ACL, while Marlon Humphrey missed the final five games with a torn pectoral muscle.

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Peters, 29, has a salary cap hit of $15.5 million in 2022, the final year of a three-year extension he signed late in the 2019 season. The Ravens would save $10 million by releasing the three-time All-Pro, but fellow cornerbacks Anthony Averett, Tavon Young and Jimmy Smith could all depart this offseason.

“I love Marcus,” DeCosta said Friday. “I talk to Marcus quite a bit. Marcus is one of these guys that, when he comes to the organization, he provides such an authentic perspective on what this game’s all about. And he’s a Raven. He’s one of these rare guys that’s played for other teams … that come in and really change the culture that you have. So I would expect Marcus to be here. I think he’s doing his rehab. I think he’s doing extremely well and I can’t wait to see him.”

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Peters has the most takeaways (39), interceptions (31) and interceptions returned for touchdowns (six) in the NFL since 2015. He missed just four games because of injury over his first six seasons, along with another because of a suspension. Before suffering a season-ending knee injury just days before the Ravens’ opener last year, Peters had been one of the team’s top players in training camp.

Brown out?

When a reporter on Friday asked DeCosta about controversial wide receiver Antonio Brown, then mentioned that the free agent had been campaigning on social media to join the Ravens, DeCosta deadpanned: “Oh, I haven’t seen that.”

Brown, the cousin of Ravens wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, said last month on the “I Am Athlete” podcast that he wanted to next play with quarterback Lamar Jackson. He later tweeted a photo of himself in a Ravens jersey.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers released Brown late in a controversial second season, punctuated by the six-time Pro Bowl selection stripping off his pads, jersey, gloves and T-shirt and leaving midway through a Week 17 game. Brown has also faced allegations of sexual and personal misconduct.

While Jackson has indicated his support for Brown, a fellow South Florida native, joining him in Baltimore, DeCosta has distanced himself from the possibility. He said Friday that he didn’t expect to make any “significant additions” to the Ravens’ wide receiver room this offseason.

“What I can say is that I’m very comfortable where we are at the receiver position, and I think people saw last year a lot of growth at that position,” he said. “We had a nice mix of younger players who continue to improve throughout the year, and we’ll look at ways of augmenting that position group. … At this time, I think we’re very comfortable with where we are with that group.”

Extra points

  • Outside linebackers coach Drew Wilkins will not return to the Ravens’ coaching staff next season, a source with knowledge of the situation confirmed. The Athletic was first to report Wilkins’ departure, which came a day after inside linebackers coach Rob Ryan also left the staff. A University of Maryland graduate, Wilkins had spent the past 12 seasons with the Ravens, starting as an intern in 2010. He coached the team’s outside linebackers coach the past two seasons.
  • DeCosta called the Ravens’ offensive line a “point of emphasis” this year. The unit struggled with injuries and inconsistency in 2021, and DeCosta indicated that the Ravens could bolster their line play through the draft. He also said the Ravens remain hopeful that the team’s younger linemen can continue their development. “What we do know is for us to be the very best offense we can be, we have to have a strong, commanding offensive line that can control people at the point of attack,” DeCosta said.
  • Former Ravens defensive back Anthony Levine Sr., who’s transitioning into a scouting and coaching assistant role this season, helped the Ravens with their player scouting at the Senior Bowl this week, DeCosta said. Former Ravens safety Eric Weddle, whom the Super Bowl-bound Los Angeles Rams signed before the postseason, could also return to Baltimore as a scout, DeCosta said. “I can probably put him on one hand, as far as players that I’ve come to admire and appreciate.”

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