While none of the players at the cornerback position for the Baltimore Ravens who are currently banged up, recently underwent surgery, or will undergo surgery are expected to be out for the season, reinforcements for the immediate future are needed.
According to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, three-time Pro Bowl starter Marlon Humphrey is expected to be out for “a little over a month” as recovers from having foot surgery which means he will likely miss at least the first couple games of the regular season.
#Ravens All-Pro CB Marlon Humphrey is dealing with a foot injury and he's expected to have surgery today, sources say. The hope is he's back in a little over a month. So, out for the first couple games. https://t.co/gkCiVoGuI3— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 16, 2023
With that in mind, cornerback now leapfrogs edge defender as the team’s top remaining need ahead of the 2023 season. Below are some available free agent fits that the team can, should, or already have begun exploring, as well as a couple realistic trade targets.
Free agent fits
William Jackson III
The team had the seventh-year veteran and former first round pick in for a free agent visit last Friday and he could very well be their top target in terms of best available options since they’ve already started doing their due diligence on him. Jackson has struggled with injuries at times during his career and was limited to just four games last season with the Washington Commanders due to a back injury. Nevertheless, he is an experienced corner with 75 career games and 64 starts under his belt according to Pro Football Reference and is only a year removed from recording a career high two interceptions in just 12 games.
Great job by William Jackson sticking tight in coverage and breaking up the pass to set up 4th down pic.twitter.com/NZW7u7gzeG— Mark Bullock (@MarkBullockNFL) November 21, 2021
The ninth-year veteran comes with plenty starting experience and championship pedigree having been on the Philadelphia Eagles team that won the Super Bowl in 2017. He has started all but one of his 89 career games during his career and most recently played with the Denver Broncos the past two seasons, in which he started 16 games and logged 67 total tackles including one for a loss, nine pass break ups, and a forced fumble per PFR.
Great rep by #23 Ronald Darby to break up the pass to Lamb.— JetPack Galileo (@JetPackGalileo) August 10, 2022
Watch the hand punch and STAY.
Blindly feels the ball and knocks it out late. pic.twitter.com/PlAFs4rnsW
The eighth-year veteran went from a lowly sixth round pick in 2016 to establishing himself as a consistent starter for the Dallas Cowboys during the first seven years of his career. He has started 69 of his 94 career games and is only a year removed from recording career highs in pass deflections (17), interceptions (3), and total tackles (71) in 2021 per PFR.
The eighth-year veteran comes with starting experience as well as a similar versatile skillset to Humphrey, in that he can play both outside and nickel corner. He has made 11 or more starts with three different teams in his career and most recently played for the Los Angeles Chargers where he posted a career-high three interceptions, 47 total tackles, and scored his first career touchdown per PFR.
While Jackson is the free agent at the position that the team most recently had in the building for a visit, the former two-time Pro Bowler and one-time First-Team All-Pro is the one that the Ravens are the most familiar with. The team signed him last May to be one of their primary backups for the 2022 season and he was slated to have a significant role in the secondary before he suffered a season-ending torn ACL in the team’s season opener against the New York Jets.
There’s no doubt that they’ve been monitoring his rehabilitation process and staying in contact given his experience, talent, and familiarity with the scheme since he was just in it. If he is healthy, it wouldn’t be surprising in the slightest if he were one of the free agent additions that Ravens make between now and Week 1.
Kyle Fuller comes down with it ‼️— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) August 22, 2022
Tune in on FOX! pic.twitter.com/Zd2fkJsZSE
Realistic trade targets
Lonnie Johnson, New Orleans Saints
The fifth-year veteran is slated to be the primary backup to Bradley Roby at the moment according to the team’s unofficial depth chart but is only playing on a one-year deal worth just $1.2 million per spotrac.com, which is cheap for a stopgap starter rental. He has only started 19 of his 56 career games but is just one year removed from recording a career-high three interceptions in 14 games with the Houston Texans per PFR.
INTERCEPTION ALERT— Texans Nation (@TexansNationCP) October 10, 2021
Lonnie Johnson Jr. on the pick!pic.twitter.com/2739Q7dbMD
Fabian Moreau, Denver Broncos
The seventh-year veteran is slated to be third string behind First-Team All-Pro Pat Surtain II according to the team’s unofficial depth chart but with second string K’Waun Williams currently nursing an ankle injury, he’d be the primary backup in the season started this weekend.
Nevertheless, he is an experienced defensive back who has started exactly half of the career games that he has played in (45 of 90) per PFR and is only signed for the 2023 season on a one-year deal worth $1.3 million according to spotrac.com. Moreau most recently played for former Ravens Defensive Coordinator Don ‘Wink’ Martindale with the New York Giants in 2022 where he started 11 of the 14 games he appeared in and logged 10 pass breakups and a career-high 66 total tackles.