Four free agent cornerbacks Patriots could target after Jack Jones arrest

The New England Patriots may soon be in need of cornerback depth after Jack Jones was arrested last Friday at Logan Airport.

Cornerback was a huge positional weakness at the start of the 2023 offseason, and the Patriots remedied that in a major way by selecting Oregon star Christian Gonzalez with the 17th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. The Patriots were already going to put a lot of responsibility on Gonzalez’s shoulders at the start of Week 1 – potentially as the team’s No. 1 cornerback – and now the rookie could face even more pressure considering of Jones’ uncertain future in New England.

In addition to Jones and Gonzalez, the Patriots 90-man roster also includes Jonathan Jones, Marcus Jones, Myles Bryant and Shaun Wade, among others, at cornerback.

Adding another veteran to the mix for training camp would be a good idea. Which of these cornerbacks remains in the free agent market for the Patriots to consider signing? Here are four intriguing options.

Marcus Peters

Age: 30

2022 statistics (team): 35 solo tackles, one sack, two forced fumbles, one interception in 13 games (Ravens)

Peters spent the last two seasons with the Ravens and played pretty well. The four-time All-Pro’s main concern is injuries. He missed four games last season, he didn’t play at all in 2021 (torn ACL) and he only played six games in 2019. When healthy, however, Peters remains a half of prime corner.

However, there could be competition for its services. Athletic’s Vic Tafur recently reported that the Raiders “looked likely” to sign Peters and brought him in for a visit last month.

Fabien Moreau

Age: 29

2022 statistics (team): 50 solo tackles and 10 passes defended in 14 games (Giants)

Moreau played pretty well for the Giants last season and ranked fourth on the team in total tackles with 66. He played 14 games and started 11 of them. It’s honestly a bit surprising that Moreau remains unsigned. Someone who did well as a starter for a playoff team deserves another opportunity.

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Eli Apple

Age: 27

2022 statistics (team): 35 solo tackles, eight passes defended, no interceptions in 15 games (Bengals)

Apple was a 2016 first-round pick (10th overall) by the Giants, but he has previously played for four teams. He spent the last two seasons with the Bengals and started 30 of 31 regular season games he played for Cincinnati during that span. Starting corners aren’t very easy to come by at this point in the offseason, and Apple is still that kind of player. He also has 10 games of playoff experience.

One of the concerns about the potential signing from Apple is that he’s not a Patriots-friendly culture. He’s very active on social media, talks a lot of trash, and gives his opponents a lot of motivation and bulletin board material, which the Patriots have done a pretty good job of avoiding for the 23 years of the club. head coach Bill Belichick. Maybe he would change and tone down such behavior to get a job, though.

Casey Hayward

Age: 33

2022 statistics (team): 14 solo tackles, three passes defended, one interception in six games (Falcons)

Hayward was released by the Falcons in April and still hasn’t signed with a new team. He only played six games with the Falcons and was placed on the injured list with a shoulder injury last October. Hayward isn’t the second-team, two-time Pro Bowl All-Pro caliber player he was earlier in his career, but he’s still a decent option as a third or fourth cornerback. Last season was the first time he missed a huge chunk of games due to injury. He hasn’t missed a game in seven of his previous eight seasons.

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