New York Jets and Antonio Cromartie: The Pros and Cons


Jan 3, 2015; Charlotte, NC, USA; Arizona Cardinals cornerback

Antonio Cromartie

(31) runs back a interception during the second quarter against the Carolina Panthers in the 2014 NFC Wild Card playoff football game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Among the ranks of New York Jets fans, there is a growing group that is advocating for the return of Antonio Cromartie. This group seems to be feeding off of statements in the media, that Cromartie has a desire to return to NYC. We don’t know if this is a genuine sentiment or strictly a play to get some of the money the Jets are sitting on.

So today, I thought we could take a moment and take a look at the pros and cons of bringing Cromartie back to the New  York Jets. Let’s get started.

Next: The Pros

Nov 30, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Arizona Cardinals cornerback Antonio Cromartie (31) tackles Atlanta Falcons wide receiver

Eric Weems

(14) after Weems made a catch in the first quarter of their game at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Antonio Cromartie has had a successful career in the NFL. Cromartie was drafted in the first round, in the 2006 draft by the San Diego Chargers. He came to the Jets in 2010 via a trade, in return the Jets eventually gave the Chargers a second round pick.

Cromartie brings a lot to the field. He’s a seasoned veteran. Cromartie has played the position with intelligence. Cromartie knows the routes, he knows some quite well, as he ran a few himself in an attempt to play WR  nder Rex Ryan. If the Jets sign Cromartie as a free agent, they get  an intelligent, savvy, seasoned veteran.

Cromartie also brings size to the table. Cromartie is currently listed as 6’2″/210 lbs by the Arizona Cardinals. Size is key to Cromartie’s success along  with his speed. He has been effective through his career due to a combination of his size and speed.

Croartie is also a ball hawk of a corner. He sees the ball in the air well, and can make adjustments to the ball while in the air. Cromartie boasts 31 interceptions in his nine years as a pro. Three of those INT’s he’s brought back for TD’s.

Cromartie is a leader. During his tenure with the Jets, Cromartie proved he could be the leader in the secondary. After the loss of Darrelle Revis, Cromartie stepped up and mentored the younger members of the secondary. In this role, Cromartie could bring his experienced to what is likely to be a young secondary.

Familarity is likely the reason the Jets would bring him back. Cromartie is familiar with the AFC East and a majority of the receivers he would face. He’s also familiar with the system that Todd Bowles ran last season in Arizona. Being familiar with the division, its QB’s, and receivers, as well as the defensive system makes Cromartie an attractive option.  

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Next: The Cons

Dec 28, 2014; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Arizona Cardinals cornerback Antonio Cromartie (31) runs through drills in warmups before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi

Age is a concern with Cromartie. He will turn 31 years old this year. Age is always a concern when a player reaches the “magical” age of thirty. In Cromartie’s case, it’s a slightly bigger concern.

Speed is always a concern with aging corners, and one step lost is just what a top NFL receiver will look to exploit. In Cromartie’s case, it’s magnified; as he has always used his speed to make up for lack of technique. When Cromartie gets beat off the line or bites on a move, he’s always had great closing speed to recover. How much of that speed has been lost?

Physical play at the line of scrimmage is not Cromaritie’s strength. He has the size to play physical, but it’s just not his forte. He’s just not the type of corner that jams the receiver off the line to disrupt a QB’s timing. Rather, Cromartie has always played with a cushion, depending on his closing speed.

Tackling is another question mark concerning Cromartie’s game. He tackles well most times, but often over running the play. His tackling needs to be questioned at his age, as the body of the veteran takes a beating over the years and Cromartie will be entering his tenth season. Is he still willing to sacrifice his body to make the tackle?

Based on his age, the Jets will need to thoroughly evaluate Cromartie’s game. A reunion might be a no brainer for fans, but it can’t be for the Jets. Cromartie is reportedly looking to make $5 million per year, and would like a four year contract. If that proves to be the case, the Jets will be wise to be cautious.

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Next: The Conclusion

Dec 21, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals cornerback Antonio Cromartie (31) looks down against the Seattle Seahawks during the first half at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Cromartie had a good season in 2014. He covered well and showed at 30 he still had football left in him. The Jets parted ways with him after a season of injuries. Many fans, including myself, thought he was done. Todd Bowles found a way to get the most out of the aging veteran.  Cromartie proved his critics wrong.

Here’s my take on a Cromartie signing. Cromartie’s familiarity with Todd Bowles’ system and the “mentoring” aspect to his game is enough for me to believe the Jets should look into signing him.

I think the Jets need to be cautious when working out a deal. I don’t see him filling a spot on the outside for the Jets. At 31 yrs old, Cromartie would be better served playing as a rotational player for the Jets. I’m still concerned about the injury factor, the nagging hip injury seems to have solved itself, but who’s to stay it doesn’t return?

The money has to be right as well. The reports that he’s looking for a contract for multiple years, in the neighborhood of 5 – 6 million dollars is worrisome. I think the Jets will have to go out and sign a top corner, regardless of whether they sign Cromartie or not.

I see Cromartie, if the Jets decide to sign him; as a short-term back up, being used in certain packages. I don’t believe the Jets need to throw five million a year for multiple years at a thirty-one year old corner. If the Jets can sign him short-term to help mentor the younger guys, and contribute in a lesser role, I’m on board.

The Jets need a premier veteran corner in free agency, that corner is not Antonio Cromartie. As a depth player and to mentor the young corners on the Jet roster, Cromartie has worth. If the Jets pursue him, they need not over pay.

That’s my take. What’s yours? Do the Jets need Antonio Cromartie? Join the discussion, let us hear what you’re thinking. Let’s talk Jets football!!

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