If John Idzik had one mulligan on a player he passed on, there is no doubt that he would use it on cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
Rodgers-Cromartie may not have been the single best cornerback in this year's free-agent class, but he was the last elite man-to-man specialist remaining—and the Jets let him walk out of their own back door. The Jets allowed Rodgers-Cromartie to leave their facility without a contract, take a short drive up the interstate to sign with the New York Giants.
Because Rex Ryan's defense is so reliant on quality play from the cornerback position, the Jets put themselves in a desperate situation where they had to sign Rodgers-Cromartie. At the time, the projected starters were Dee Milliner, who was benched three times last year, and Darrin Walls, who has no extensive starting experience as a former undrafted free agent.
Idzik's offer was nowhere near as attractive as the one the Giants eventually signed him to, offering more money and security—the decision to sign with big blue was a no-brainer for Rodgers-Cromartie, according to the New York Daily News' Manish Mehta:
Realizing that their offer was far below the market price, Idzik and the Jets made a desperate, late offer to try to reel Rodgers-Cromartie back to Florham Park, but the damage was already done:
Meanwhile, frustration began to brew within the Jets, as it became clear that Idzik's stubbornness in negotiations was going to cost the team in the short term, according to Jets Confidential's Dan Leberfeld:
The Jets were able to add Dimitri Patterson to put a band-aid on the wound, but the Jets will enter this season with a rather mediocre set of cornerbacks, putting Rex Ryan's ability to run his preferred defense in jeopardy.