Antonio Cromartie Re-Signs: New York Jets Better Off Without Nnamdi Asomugha?

Adam LazarusSenior Analyst IAugust 1, 2011

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 19:  Antonio Cromartie #31 of the New York Jets in action against the New England Patriots during their  game on September 19, 2010 at the New Meadowlands Stadium  in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

In most NFL circles there isn't much debate over who the better cornerback (or better locker room presence, for that matter) is, Antonio Cromartie or Nnamdi Asomugha. Asomugha wins in a landslide. But in the very unique situation surrounding the New York Jets, I can't help but think that keeping Cromartie and not bringing in Asomugha—as was rumored—is the better choice for their Super Bowl hopes.

The Jets have been in a state of constant flux the past three years: after the Brett Favre move, they brought in Rex Ryan and since then they've redefined tinkering with a roster: Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes, LaDainian Tomlinson, Jason Taylor, Brodney Pool, Trevor Pryce, Cromartie, etc.

There's no real argument to be made against it: they did return to the AFC Championship Game in 2010. 

But now that Mark Sanchez is another year older and Rex Ryan another year bolder, perhaps they are better off keeping staying reasonably put in the trade and free-agent market.

On a side note, swapping Plaxico Burress for Braylon Edwards is probably a downgrade, but that's really the only significant move they've made this offseason.

There's something to be said about stability and consistency, especially on defense. 

And as intriguing as pairing Darrelle Revis with Asomugha would have been, there's no guarantee that that would have worked so brilliantly. For one, Asomugha isn't necessarily the second coming of Darrell Green—he's an excellent corner, but the hype over him was ridiculous. 

Secondly, there's no telling how he would have fit into that Jets defense that is fairly unique in terms of how often it blitzes and leaves their corners in single coverage. Cromartie was certainly up to the task last year: no one dared go after Revis so he was picked on a ton and more often than not held his ground.

But more than anything—the consistency, the money, the style of play—is the fact that Cromartie is three years younger than Asomugha. A Revis-Asomugha pairing wouldn't last as long as a Revis-Cromartie pairing, and you know Ryan is in this for the long haul.