Double Coverage: Antonio Cromartie
March, 21, 2014
AP Photo/Alan DiazIn Antonio Cromartie, the Cardinals know that they are getting an athletic cornerback with size.While New York Jets fans are looking for cornerbacks on every street in Manhattan, they saw an all-too-familiar sight in the desert.
By signing Antonio Cromartie on Thursday, the Arizona Cardinals solidified one of the league's top secondaries with Cromartie teaming up with Patrick Peterson -- similar to his tandem with Darrelle Revis.
ESPN.com Cardinals reporter Josh Weinfuss and Jets reporter Rich Cimini take a look at Cromartie's cross-country move.
Weinfuss: With just 38 tackles in 2013, was it just an off season for Cromartie or did teams stay away from him? Doesn't seem like it was a very Cromartie-esque year.
Cimini: No, it wasn't a good year for Cromartie -- and he'll be the first to admit it. He played the entire season with a strained hip flexor (that's what he called it) and it obviously hampered his ability to turn and run with receivers. He allowed a bunch of long pass plays, one of the reasons why the Jets finished 22nd in pass defense. By the end of the year, he no longer was assigned to the opponents' No. 1 receiver. That said, I give him points for gutting it out; some players would've packed it in. If the hip issue is resolved, he has the ability to recapture his 2012 form. He was terrific in 2012, probably his most consistent season. In terms of scheme fit, Cromartie is a man-to-man corner all the way. He's a scary good athlete, although he's known for losing focus. The coaches were on him a lot because he tended to get too passive in bump-and-run situations. How does he fit with the Cards?
Weinfuss: I think he'll be a great complement to Patrick Peterson if he's healthy. Those two would make up one of the toughest corner tandems in the league and could give quarterbacks fits. As it was last season, Peterson wasn't getting thrown to much. Pair him with Cromartie and Arizona's defense, which is under the watchful and creative eye of defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, will just get better. The Cardinals needed to get better against the pass and Cromartie can help them improve not only because he's athletic but also because he's tall (6-foot-2). But the question will be how he's used. He'll most likely be out wide most of the time, but will Arizona utilize his height and line him up against tight ends in the slot? Looking at Cromartie's history, he's not much of a slot corner.
Speaking of his injury, how much of an impact did it have on his attractiveness to other teams in free agency? Did the Cards get the Cromartie of old or were they duped?
Cimini: First of all, let me say this: The Jets cut him because of economics. It was the last year of his deal, and he had a $15 million cap charge, including a $5 million roster bonus. There was no chance of that happening. General manager John Idzik said they were interested in re-signing Cromartie (for less money, obviously), which tells me they weren't too concerned by the hip. However, I have to think it hurt him on the open market. Look at the facts: Questionable hip, bad season and age (he turns 30). That's not a good combo for a free agent. But like I said, if Cromartie is healthy, it'll end up being a good bargain for the Cards. He can play receiver in a pinch (handful of snaps there in 2012) and he can return kickoffs. And you're right, Josh, he's not a slot corner. He's strictly an outside guy. A few years ago, they used him a little on athletic tight ends, but I don't think Cromartie is physical enough for that assignment.
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