Four free agent cornerbacks Patriots could target after Jack Jones arrest

The New England Patriots could soon be in need of cornerback depth after Jack Jones' arrest last Friday at Logan Airport.

Cornerback was a huge positional weakness entering the 2023 offseason, and the Patriots addressed it in a major way by selecting Oregon star Christian Gonzalez with the No. 17 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. The Patriots were already going to be putting a lot of responsibility on Gonzalez's shoulders going into Week 1 -- potentially as the team's No. 1 cornerback -- and now the rookie could face even more pressure given 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 those cornerbacks are left on the free agent market for the Patriots to consider signing? Here are four intriguing options.

Marcus Peters

Age: 30

2022 stats (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 main concern with the four-time All-Pro is injuries. He missed four games last season, he didn't play at all in 2021 (torn ACL) and he played in just six games in 2019. When healthy, though, Peters remains a starting-caliber cornerback.

There might be competition for his services, however. The Athletic's Vic Tafur recently reported that the Raiders "seem likely" to sign Peters and brought him in for a visit last month.

Fabian Moreau

Age: 29

2022 stats (team): 50 solo tackles and 10 passes defensed 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 little surprising that Moreau remains unsigned. Someone who held his own as a starter for a playoff team deserves another opportunity.

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Eli Apple

Age: 27

2022 stats (team): 35 solo tackles, eight passes defensed, zero interceptions in 15 games (Bengals)

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

One concern with potentially signing Apple is that he's not a culture fit for the Patriots. He's very active on social media, he talks a lot of trash and gives opponents plenty of motivation and bulletin-board material, which the Patriots have done a pretty good job of avoiding during head coach Bill Belichick's 23 years in charge. Maybe he would change and tone down such behavior to get a job, though.

Casey Hayward

Age: 33

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

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