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2019 Los Angeles Rams roster preview: CB Marcus Peters, franchise player or two-year rental?

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The Rams have a monumental, and likely expensive, decision coming next offseason. Is Marcus Peters playing for his future as a Ram or is he simply playing out his time as a Ram for his future?

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Los Angeles Rams CB Marcus Peters dives into the endzone to cap off a pick six in Week 1 against the Oakland Raiders, Sep. 10, 2018. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The vast majority of Los Angeles Rams fans were elated when the Rams traded for CB Marcus Peters in February 2018. They had acquired a young, All-Pro caliber cornerback on his rookie contract at a position of extreme need. Fans had good reason to be excited.

Then the 2018 season happened.

He started the season strong, but when fellow CB Aqib Talib went down with an ankle injury, Peters was exposed. He frequently got caught gambling and lost on double moves, and he gave us all a look at just how good New Orleans Saints WR Michael Thomas can be.

In their annual review, Pro Football Focus had Peters listed as one of the primary “things that went wrong,” and it’s hard to argue that when you look at the numbers:

Newly acquired CB Marcus Peters struggled in 2018, finishing with an NFL passer rating allowed of 109.9. Peters’ overall grade of 60.1 was down 20.6 points from just a season ago.

Roster Battle

The decline in play puts the Rams in an interesting predicament. Peters clearly has the talent and ability to play very well in the NFL, but he picked a VERY bad time to have a dip in productivity. Peters is entering a contract year, and the Rams already have a track record of not wanting to pay a premium for DBs - which leads me to the only person Peters will be competing with in 2019: himself.

If he can tackle his demons and elevate his play back to Pro Bowl and All-Pro levels, he will be in line for a very nice payday. If he has a second consecutive rough season, he may struggle for suitors on the open market next spring.

I should also note the Rams spent the 79th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft on Michigan Wolverines CB David Long. That gives the Rams an out for the future; they need a second whether that’s Peters or CB TBD.

Expectations

The Rams acquired Peters to be a shutdown corner, and that’s what he needs to be. Talib is a very, very good corner, but he’s 33-years old. Peters needs to show enough consistency covering opposing wide receivers and supplant Talib as the top cornerback on the Rams. If he doesn’t, the Rams could be back to where they were 18 months ago when they acquired him to be a long term solution in the secondary.

Chances of Making Roster (10/10)

Despite being somewhat of an enigma during his first year with the Rams, Peters is still a lock to make the final roster

What he makes of that roster spot, however, will be up to him.