With Marcus Peters, Ravens get playmaking corner without the cost of Jalen Ramsey

Graziano: Peters was never in Rams' long-term plans (0:58)

Dan Graziano breaks down the Rams' decision to trade CB Marcus Peters to the Ravens, a move saving Los Angeles $5.3M in cap space this year. (0:58)

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The Baltimore Ravens traded for a top-tier playmaking cornerback and they didn't have to mortgage future drafts for him.

Tuesday's acquisition of Los Angeles Rams cornerback Marcus Peters was a steal. At the very least, it's a no-lose situation for Baltimore.

Like the Rams, the Ravens were in the market for Jacksonville Jaguars corner Jalen Ramsey. The price the Rams paid to acquire Ramsey -- their first-round picks in the next two drafts and a fourth-rounder in 2021 -- would have been too much for the Ravens. The cost of draft capital would be severely limiting to address the Ravens' major holes at pass-rusher, middle linebacker and left guard.

Instead, the Ravens get Peters for a fifth-round pick and inside linebacker Kenny Young. In other words, Baltimore land the NFL's interceptions leader since 2015 for a bonus pick (the team had an extra fifth-rounder after trading kicker Kaare Vedvik to the Minnesota Vikings this summer) and a benched starter.

The all-in move was to do whatever it took to add Ramsey. The smart play for Baltimore's first-year general manager, Eric DeCosta, was taking advantage of the Rams wanting to move Peters in order to get Ramsey, a trade for Baltimore that's filled with high reward and very little risk.

The best-case scenario is Peters provides a spark to an injury-hit secondary, generates much-needed turnovers and ultimately signs long-term with Baltimore.

The worst case is Peters freelances too much, as he did in Los Angeles, whiffs on bringing down receivers in the open field and goes elsewhere in free agency. The net loss is still minimal because the Ravens would likely receive a third- or fourth-round compensatory pick in return for Peters signing with another team.

With Peters, Baltimore has a ball hawk that has long been missing at cornerback. Since Peters entered the NFL in 2015, he has 24 interceptions, eight more than anyone else in the league. Over that same span, Ravens cornerbacks have combined for 31 picks (Jimmy Smith has the most for Baltimore, with eight).

The Ravens had to do something to address their secondary if they wanted to remain the front-runners in the AFC North. Lamar Jackson is quarterbacking the NFL's top-ranked offense. Their run defense has been dominant when defensive tackle Brandon Williams has been on the field. The clear weakness is the league's No. 25 pass defense. Baltimore had to either land someone who can put pressure on the quarterback or pick him off.

Injuries have taken a toll at cornerback. Smith (knee) has missed the past five games and Tavon Young (neck) is out for the season. Maurice Canady and Anthony Averett struggled as fill-in starting corners. Teams seemingly targeted their side on every pass play, doing everything they can to avoid Marlon Humphrey, who is playing at a Pro Bowl level.

The arrival of Peters changes how offenses view and attack Baltimore through the air. Peters ranks No. 13 among cornerbacks this season, higher than Humphrey, according to Pro Football Focus. He has allowed 10 catches for 166 yards on 16 targets.

The Ravens have had their eye on Peters since the 2015 draft. He went No. 18 overall to the Kansas City Chiefs, which was eight spots before Baltimore drafted. The Ravens used their first-round pick on wide receiver Breshad Perriman, who turned into a bust, and watched Peters become a two-time Pro Bowl player.

Peters certainly has his well-documented faults, which is why he's now in Baltimore. He has a reputation for not always being dialed into his assignments and for shying away from tackling.

According to NFL Next Gen Stats, Peters has been the nearest defender in coverage on nine touchdown passes since joining the Rams last season. That was the second worst in the league.

But Peters is only NFL player since 2015 who has double-digit interceptions and more than a handful of forced fumbles as well as defensive touchdowns.

A deal for Ramsey made sense if Baltimore was one player away from becoming a Super Bowl favorite. The trade for Peters allows the Ravens to bring in another key piece without reducing their power to build a championship team for years to come.