A few days after his release from the New York Jets, we’re starting to get an idea of where Antonio Cromartie might land in 2014. The Arizona Cardinals have now emerged as the top landing spot for the veteran corner.
New York’s move to cut Cromartie surprised some, but when you look at the numbers, I don’t see how you can blame the Jets. Cromartie is coming off a tough season (by his standards) and he was due to make a truckload of money in 2014. New York saved nearly $10 million in cap space by cutting him loose, but Cromartie was hardly upset.
In an interview following his release, the CB said he was not ruling out a return to the Jets. He mentioned that if New York gave him a similar offer to what he gets on the open market, that he’d consider putting on green yet again next season. It sounds like his heart is still in the Big Apple, but that he also knows he needs to make the best business decision for his career right now.
At nearly 29, Cromartie still has plenty of good years left in him, but the door is certainly starting to close. If he’s going to command big money one last time, this is it.
As for his fit with the Cardinals, I think it would be a good one. Arizona already has really solid defense top-to-bottom. In 2013 they ranked 14th in pass defense and first in run defense. Clearly, adding Cromartie to the mix with Patrick Peterson in the secondary, would only help Arizona climb the ranks of the league’s best pass defenses.
But as always in free agency – a deal between the two sides only makes sense at the right price. Cromartie is in line for a significant pay cut and we’ll just have to see how much less he’s willing to take. If the Cardinals fail to impress him with their offer, it seems likely that he’ll just go back to New York.