Thursday, December 26, 2013
Antonio Cromartie could need hip surgery
By Matt Ehalt
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie acknowledged Thursday he could need offseason surgery on the right hip that has bothered him this season.
"Hopefully there's nothing that's too serious," Cromartie said. "Hopefully I don't have to have surgery, or if it is, it's something that's a cleanup job and easy to come by and go from there."
Cromartie fractured his hip in 2008 with the Chargers, playing most of the season with it, and believes there's a connection between that injury and the one he's dealing with now. He said he'd been maintaining his hip well for the past few years, before it became problematic this season.
While Cromartie hasn't missed a game this season, he had to leave the Nov. 24 loss to Baltimore due to the hip and almost didn't play the following week against Miami. As Cromartie has played through the injury, his play has noticeably dipped this year. He also has dealt with a hyperextended knee.
The 29-year-old plans to see hip specialists after he watches his alma mater, Florida State, play for the national championship against Auburn on Jan. 6.
"Just understand what we got to try to do and if there's surgery that needs to be done to the point of cleaning it out or something like that, then that's something we have to do I think," Cromartie said. "We have great team doctors here and a great training staff that gets guys back healthy."
As Cromartie prepares to take care of his hip in the offseason, the Jets will have to decide whether or not they want to retain Cromartie for 2014. His health could play a role in the team's decision. Cromartie will carry a cap hit of $14.98 million next season. And he's due a $5 million roster bonus in March, which forces the issue. The Jets would save $9.5 million if they were to release Cromartie. He signed a four-year, $32 million deal prior to the 2011 season.
If the Jets don't want to keep Cromartie at that value but would like to retain him, they could extend him or ask him to take a pay cut. With a pay cut, Cromartie would not make his normal salary but could potentially make more than he would if he were to be released and become a free agent. Most free-agent cornerbacks in 2013 did not strike it rich, and Cromartie's health and age could hurt him.
Cromartie said he'd be willing to restructure his deal, but with one year left, he can't prorate any portion of his contract. Cromartie isn't concerned with whether or not his contract will affect his status with the team.
"This is where I want to be. My family loves it here and I think the biggest thing for me is just making sure that going into this last game I play to the best of my ability," Cromartie said. "At the end of the day, no matter what you do your last name is your résumé. That's how I go about it. I want to make sure I'm here, my family wants to be here, and this is where I want to retire."