For several days now many media outlets have reported that San Diego Chargers cornerback Antonio Cromartie could be available via trade. The Chargers are reportedly looking to swap the young, but inconsistent cornerback, for a running back. That is if the price is right of course. There are only a handful of NFL teams who have the depth at running back to make the swap, but the Tennessee Titans are one of those teams.
Lendale White is no longer the featured back in Tennessee thanks to the breakout 2,006 yard rushing campaign of Chris Johnson last season, and is therefore expendable. White should certainly be of interest to the Chargers as he has shown in his four year NFL career that he is certainly a more than capable running back, rushing for 1,110 yards and seven touchdowns in 2007. White also showed that he was a significant redzone threat in 2008, scoring 15 touchdowns that season. This trade like many high profile trades could be a blunder, but on the other hand could also work well for both the Chargers and Titans.
Cromartie is has certainly been up and down as well in his NFL career, but is only two seasons removed from a ten interception, 18 passes defended season. In the two years since, Cromartie has only tallied 5 interceptions and 19 passes defended. This despite playing in all 32 possible games the last two seasons. Cromartie is certainly a boom or bust pick, but like White could probably excel with a change of scenery.
Positives of Trade
Cromartie is an absolute physical specimen at the cornerback position. Listed at 6 foot 2, 211 pounds, Cromartie is a rare cornerback who is truly able to compete with the growing trend of tall NFL receivers. This is a demon which has plagued the Titans for too long, as the likes of Andre Johnson have routinely victimized the shorter Titan‘s cornerbacks. Cromartie could finally exercise this demon for the Titans, as he is not only 6 foot 2, but had a mind blowing 42” vertical leap at the NFL combine.
Cromartie could also offer assistance in the punt and kick return area, as the 26 year old All Pro has shown a true knack for returning the football. Cromartie has completed a rare feat in the NFL, as he has returned a kick, punt, interception and missed field goal for touchdowns. In fact his 109 yard return of a missed field goal against the Vikings, is the longest play in NFL history. Simply put, having a defensive player who runs a 4.38 forty and is capable as Cromartie is a tremendous asset to any team.
Negatives of Trade
After tallying ten interceptions in 2007, Cromartie had only a combined five interceptions the last two seasons. This despite playing all 32 possible NFL games in that span. Cromartie has also been questioned on his toughness and passion at times by many NFL experts. Cromartie has specifically shown this in run support. In a widely circulated video, Cromartie is shown not even attempting to tackle Jet’s running back Shonn Grenne, who then ran straight past him for a touchdown. The Chargers ended up losing this game to the Jets by only three points. This is certainly a concern for any NFL team considering trading for Cromartie, as is his decreased production the past two seasons.
All in all this trade could certainly benefit both the Titans and Chargers, as each team would receive a young player with plenty of talent. In order for this trade to work, the Titan’s would likely need to trade not only White, but probably a third round pick as well. With the Titans likely to draft a cornerback in the third round, Cromartie would instantly fill a huge void in the Titan‘s secondary. White would also fit nicely in the Charger’s offense, acting as the perfect compliment to speedy Charger’s running back Darren Sproles. With White and Sproles on the same team, the two could certainly take over as the new “smash and dash” tandem.