- Rich Cimini, ESPN Staff Writer
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One of the reasons why the New York Jets felt comfortable trading Darrelle Revis was the emergence last season of Antonio Cromartie as a legitimate No. 1 cornerback. He made the Pro Bowl, deservedly so.
That Cromartie is gone, and you wonder if the Jets would've pulled the trigger on the blockbuster deal if they knew then what they know now. Fans and media types are beating up Dee Milliner for his struggles, but he's a rookie. It's Cromartie who should be criticized.
Cromartie was burned by rookie wide receiver Marquise Goodwin in last Sunday's loss to the Buffalo Bills, a 43-yard touchdown in which Cromartie choked on Goodwin's dust. You've seen that movie before. Cromartie has allowed five touchdowns and 20.5 yards per reception, the second-highest average among corners, according to ProFootballFocus.com. A year ago, his numbers were five touchdowns and 12.8.
The timing couldn't be worse for the Jets, battling for a playoff spot, and Cromartie, who is playing for a contract. He's signed for 2014, but there's no way he will play for the Jets under his current deal. His cap number is $15 million, including a $5 million roster bonus and a $4.3 million base salary. Unless Cromartie agrees to a pay cut, the Jets should try to shop him in the offseason, hoping to find a suitor that would extend his deal. If there's no market, they'd have to cut him. It would make no sense to extend Cromartie, not after his performance this season.
Imagine losing the likes of Revis and Cromartie in back-to-back offseasons.
On Sunday, Cromartie faces another challenge, Torrey Smith of the Baltimore Ravens. Smith's numbers have declined in recent weeks, but he's still a vertical threat. His targets average 15.1 yards, the fifth-highest in the league, per ESPN Stats.
Maybe the old Cromartie will make an appearance.
ICYMI: The Jets made one roster move Tuesday, placing tight end Konrad Reuland on season-ending injured reserve with a mysterious knee injury. In essence, he became expendable with the return of Kellen Winslow and the early-season arrival of Zach Sudfeld. Along with Jeff Cumberland, it was four's a crowd at tight end. ... The team didn't work out any free agents Tuesday ... Kudos to defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson. He spent Tuesday evening in Elizabeth, N.J., handing out Thanksgiving dinners to 200 families. Wilkerson grew up in the Elizabeth/Linden area. ... Our film review of the Buffalo debacle. ... The Jets dropped to 16th in the ESPN.com power rankings. ... Backup quarterback Matt Simms knows why he's the most popular guy in town.