A Longer Look At Antonio Cromartie Deal & The Impact It Has On Jets Off-Season
Here I am, ready to type up a nice short article with some final thoughts before free agency kicked off at midnight. Before I started writing, I decided to check Rich Cimini’s The Jets Stream and see he has two really short posts, right in a row which usually only means one thing, the Jets have done something big. Sure enough, Mike Tannenbaum did what he does best and he couldn’t even wait until tomorrow to pull the trigger. The Jets have acquired former Chargers corner Antonio Cromartie for a 2011 third round pick, which could turn into a 2nd rounder based on his performance and playing time. (Jay Glazer is being credited with breaking the story, by the way).
Obviously, there is always some initial excitement when your team makes a big move, which was conveyed in my initial post on this trade. However, you can’t just look at the glass half full with this deal. Yes, Cromartie is an extremely physically gifted player. Yes, he was a beast in 2007 when he had ten interceptions and was an All-Pro. Yes, he is a playmaker, with four career touchdowns, including one on a 109 yard return of a missed field goal. His physical attributes are summed up nicely by this scouting report from ESPN Insider, linked by The Jets Blog here, (http://www.thejetsblog.com/2010/03/04/antonio-cromartie-scouting-report/).
Now turning to the glass being half empty: since 2007, Cromartie has had as many paternity suits (5) as he has had interceptions (5). In 2008, he only had two interceptions, both of which ironically came against the Jets on Monday Night Football, including one he ran back for a touchdown. At the end of the year, he blamed his poor play on a hip injury, which he sustained in week one. In 2009, he finished with three interceptions, thirty-three tackles, and ten passes defensed. All Jets fan also got a first-hand look at his laziness in the divisional round of the playoffs, when he made a poor effort on Shonn Greene’s 53 yard touchdown run and then topped it off with a cheap shot on Greene in the end-zone, which I ripped him for in my “Cheap-Shot Chargers” article way back in January. San Diego made it known they were fed up with Cromartie’s occasional lazy play and inconsistency, which is never something you want to hear about a player.
Adam Schefter is reporting the Jets will not be giving Cromartie a new deal, which means he will be playing in his contract year. Overall, similar to Lito Sheppard and Braylon Edwards, the Jets are rolling the dice on a guy with physical talent who has some question marks surrounding him. It didn’t work out with Sheppard and it remains to be seen how everything shakes out with Edwards but clearly the Jets aren’t afraid to take risks on players.
Cromartie will have a chance to play on the league’s best defense for a coach players love and live in a cornerback’s dream: having a ton of balls thrown is way, giving him a chance to make plays and never having to worry about the opposing team’s best receiver. For a third round pick next year? I think the risk outweighs the reward. If the Jets hit on this trade, they could have two legit pro-bowl corners next year and see Cromartie rack up 6-7 interceptions, along with a few touchdowns. If they miss, they lose a third round pick next year and have to deal with more Dwight Lowery down the stretch. I think there is a good chance it lands somewhere in the middle of those two, Cromartie isn’t going to bounce back to 2007 form but I think he will be motivated by Ryan, the challenge of playing opposite Revis, and of course a contract year. Richard Marshall would have been safer, but Cromartie has more upside.
It is honestly hard not to be excited about the thought of Revis and Cromartie next year, period, There are valid concerns but at least we have a GM who goes after it.
So, where does this leave the Jets the rest of the off-season?
- Forget about spending that first round pick on a corner. I still wouldn’t be shocked to see the Jets pursue Corey Ivy for the nickel role however, Donald Strickland will likely be released and they need somebody to fill his spot.
- Adalius Thomas still remains a likely target at outside linebacker.
- Rich Cimini is reporting the chances are “very remote” Thomas Jones returns next year. The Jets could focus on guys like Mike Bell or Chris Brown if TJ doesn’t come back.
- Unless the Kerry Rhodes for Anquan Boldin deal is swung, receiver could become a first round target now or the Jets could look defensive line/outside linebacker.
- I am expecting Rhodes to be moved for a third round pick tomorrow…just a gut feeling, which also means the Jets could look to draft a safety in round 1 or 2.
- How about Laveranues Coles and Chris Baker both being cut? I guess Mike T was smart not to pay them the money they were demanding. I wouldn’t mind seeing Baker as a #2 tight end or even Coles back a slot receiver.
- It looks Chad Pennington is heading back to Miami…oh well.
Antonio Cromartie: The Good
The Scary Good