Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is set to take Asante Samuel’s place in the defensive scheme of the Philadelphia Eagles, after the team decided to trade the former All-Pro cornerback to the Atlanta Falcons. That move left the Eagles only with Nnamdi Asomugha and DRC as legit starters and some unproven corners to provide depth.
Hence, Rodgers-Cromartie’s spot looks cemented — at least for the forthcoming season. But what happens after 2012?
For those that still haven’t noticed, Rodgers-Cromartie enters his contract year. The 5-year deal that signed as a rookie with the Arizona Cardinals in 2008 expires after the 2012 NFL season. Apparently, he doesn’t want to be unemployed.
So, DRC needs to prove his worth as a player, in order to get a new contract. He is 26 years old, probably at the best age for a cornerback and he is going to start from day one.
The 2012 NFL season is very important for the Eagles, following a finish of eight wins, eight defeats and no playoffs. Everyone in the team wants a strong comeback and that requires great effort and more efficient playing by every player.
Rodgers-Cromartie has an extra reason to give his 100% and that’s his contract renewal. In 2011, he was in Samuel’s shadow for most of the time and primarily used as a slot back. He blew up a number of plays and overall, his presence was not what it should be. His stats dropped significantly and it was the first season where he didn’t recorded a single interception.
DRC showed improvement in the final games of the season. He also made his first ever sack. However, he must pick up where he left off and not only perform the way a starter should, but also be consistent throughout the season.
The Eagles would definitely hate to see the “Rodgers-Cromartie” project end in failure. Will they let him go if he disappoints? At the moment, one can only guess; however, one thing is sure: Rodgers-Cromartie won’t have the upper hand in any of his contract negotiations as a free agent.
Ultimately, it’s all up to him. He will start at his natural position, after a complete offseason with his team. He can be the Pro-Bowler that the Eagles traded Kevin Kolb for, or he can dwell in mediocrity and face the consequences.
For the good of both the Eagles and DRC, I hope he plays “lights-out”.