Despite losing out in forming the all-time cornerback tandem of Darrelle Revis and cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, the New York Jets turned to their fallback option, having re-signed Antonio Cromartie to a four-year, $32 million contract.
Last season, Cromartie was impressive at times for the Jets, and while Revis was out with injuries, Cromartie replaced Revis as the team's top cornerback. He even showed he could be a solid kickoff returner, setting up the winning touchdown in the playoffs against Indianapolis with a 47-yard return. Cromartie might be asked to be the primary kick returner again this season, since Brad Smith is now a Buffalo Bill.
After acquriing the talented but troubled Cromartie from San Diego for a conditional third-round draft pick in 2011, Cromartie came to the East coast considered one of the rising talents in the league. In 2007, when he was an All-Pro in his second season after getting an NFL-leading 10 interceptions, but has struggled on and off the field since. Cromartie's tackling was an issue in San Diego, but although he led the team defense in penalties, Cromarite improved.
The Jets believed Cromartie played well for them last season, but that apparently didn't stop them from pursuing the prized free-agent of the 2011 class. It has been reported that the Jets "never eliminated Cromartie from their plans, and that they were simply checking out their options." Coach Rex Ryan said "he considers Cromartie a top-five cornerback, mentioning Revis and Asomugha as his No. 1 and No. 2, respectively".
The Jets have $19.5 million per year tied up in their starting cornerbacks, including last year's No. 1 pick, Kyle Wilson. While some believe the Jets have arguably the most talented cornerback corps in the league, unfortunately for them, Cromartie is one of those cornerbacks.
So by the end of week 17, the Jets are going to be wishing it was Asomugha who was lined up opposite Revis, instead of their cornerback who's under contract for the next four years, and who they just gave $32 million dollars too.