According to recent reports, Antonio Cromartie has been released by the New York Jets.
This news does not necessarily come as a shock, although the timing of it is a bit strange. The Jets have now cut Cromartie before both QB Mark Sanchez and WR Santonio Holmes, whom we have been waiting to hear official news about for a long time.
Coming off a phenomenal season, Antonio Cromartie tanked this year. The 2-time Pro Bowler possibly had the worst season of his career in 2013, which helped result in the abysmal pass defense the Jets had this year. Although Cromartie inquired back in January about how he believed that he would be released, there had been zero news on the situation for almost 2 months.
However, this deal made a lot of sense financially for GM John Idzik and the Jets. The troubled cornerback was set to make $15 million this year, and his recent performances definitely do not warrant that type of payroll. The New York Jets freed ample cap room with this move, further increasing their current cap.
With this recent release, fans can start to make sense of some of the recent stories that we have been hearing about the Jets. Gang Green is reportedly interested in CB Alterraun Verner, but at the time it would have made more sense for the Jets to be negotiating with an offensive playmaker like Eric Decker or James Jones. Also, Rex Ryan and the Jets were reportedly in love with Ohio State CB Bradley Roby, but Roby is a projected 1st-2nd round pick, and the Jets desperately need a receiver or tight end in the early rounds of this draft.
However, with Cromartie gone Idzik now has the cap room to make multiple moves in free agency, such as signing a big name wide receiver AND a big name corner, such as Alterraun Verner. The Jets may be looking to snag Roby in the 2nd round, although that is highly improbable. One thing’s for sure though, and that is that the Jets now have to upgrade a corner. With Antonio Cromartie gone, that leaves the Jets with Dee Milliner, Kyle Wilson, and Darrin Walls to start. Needless to say, that is horrific.
Antonio Cromartie will now test a free agency market that is stockpiled with talented cornerbacks, which does not bode well for his future. The former Jet and Charger will definitely find a starting job somewhere, although he will get paid nowhere close to what he was supposed to be paid this year. Cromartie will be competing with Verner, Aqib Talib, Vontae Davis, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and others for a top payroll.
On Twitter, Antonio Cromartie praised his experience with the Jets and thanked the team and the fans for “helpin me grow as a leader and a player… [and] for all the support thru my 4 yr career with you.” Bad grammar aside, Cromartie sincerely enjoyed his time as Jet and we wish him nothing but the best in his NFL career.