Eight-year veteran cornerback Antonio Cromartie has agreed to terms with the Arizona Cardinals on a one-year deal, the team announced Thursday:
Adam Schefter initially reported the news:
Former Jets CB Antonio Cromartie reached agreement on a one-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals, per ESPN source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 20, 2014
Kent Somers of azcentral.com provided the financial details:
1-year deal for Cromartie is worth $3.25 mil base, per source. He can make another $500k if he plays in every game.— Kent Somers (@kentsomers) March 20, 2014
Cromartie briefly talked about his new team via Mike Jurecki of FOX Sports 910 in Phoenix:
Cromartie "I’m so happy that the Arizona Cardinals organization took interest in me, made me feel at home, made me feel like I was wanted."— Mike Jurecki (@mikejurecki) March 21, 2014
Last season with the New York Jets, Cromartie put up similar numbers to previous seasons with the franchise. His three interceptions and 38 combined tackles were both equal to or better than his 2012 numbers, while his nine passes defended were down just slightly from the 13 he posted the season prior.
Though the numbers were on par, his coverage skills on the field took a dramatic dip, according to Rotoworld.com:
Cromartie was a legit shutdown corner in 2012, but his play slipped dramatically in 2013 as he battled a chronic hip injury, appearing stiffer than ever. Still only 30 years old -- he turns in April -- Cromartie will be a boom-or-bust free agent signing.
That boom-or-bust potential was enough for the Cardinals to lock him down to a deal in hopes that he would return to form in 2014.
Following the agreement, Jets general manager John Idzik spoke about Cromartie (via Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post):
Idzik: “We were in touch with Cro, but when a guy is free like that, both sides have to feel it’s a good fit."— Bart Hubbuch (@HubbuchNYP) March 20, 2014
Cromartie also posted on Instagram following the move:
While Cromartie won't likely repeat the 10 interceptions and 18 passes defended that he put up while hitting his prime with the San Diego Chargers back in 2007, he still thinks he can help any team this coming season.
Earlier this month, the former star corner commented on what he believes a team will get when he steps on the field, per ESPN New York 98.7 radio, via Brian Costello of the New York Post:
Cromartie says he's healthy on 98.7. "You're going to see the Antonio Cromartie of old."— Brian Costello (@BrianCoz) March 10, 2014
Cro is one of the finest athletes I’ve ever coached. He was willing to contribute wherever the team needed him to win games, be it defense, special teams or offense. He has a passion and enthusiasm for the game and I wish him and his family the best.
Is this signing a good move?
That passion and enthusiasm will immediately benefit the Cardinals both on the field and in the locker room. On a defense where Cromartie has another chance to make his mark, he can also help groom the younger corners on the team or those acquired through the upcoming draft.
He'll undoubtedly boost the talented secondary already featuring rising star Patrick Peterson.
New York's release of Cromartie was one of several moves that freed up cap space so the team could rebuild to contend in the AFC East again. With Ryan returning for at least one more season, the urgency is clear with the players and coaching staff to win right away. ESPN's Dave Rothenberg points out how bizarre it is to see the Jets so passive in the beginning:
While the Jets are moving forward without the experienced corner, Cromartie is getting a chance to recreate his career yet again with Arizona.
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