Sunday, July 31, 2011
Updated: August 1, 5:25 PM ET
Source: Antonio Cromartie, Jets agree
By Rich Cimini
Rebounding from the Nnamdi Asomugha snub, the New York Jets moved to fill their vacant cornerback spot, coming to a contract agreement early Monday morning with Antonio Cromartie, according to a league source.
He will sign a four-year, $32 million contract, according to a league source -- $4 million per year less than Asomugha's deal with the Philadelphia Eagles and $1.75 million per year less than Johnathan Joseph's contract with the Houston Texans.
The Jets appeared to be in a bind after losing out on Asomugha, who shocked many (including the Jets) by signing Thursday with the Eagles. If they had failed to re-sign Cromartie, it would've created a major issue in the defense.
The Jets will go into the 2011 season with the same tandem as last year, Cromartie and All-Pro Darrelle Revis.
Though Cromartie drew strong interest from the Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers, teams that would've made him the No. 1 corner, the six-year vet elected to stay in New York and took to Twitter early Monday morning.
"They say Cro is back, Cro is back all #GangGreen fans say is Cro...," Cromartie tweeted. "I'm on my FLT headed home glad 2 b a JET...let's go win a Superbowl."
The Jets have re-signed two of their Big Four free agents, Cromartie and wide receiver Santonio Holmes. They lost the versatile Brad Smith to the Buffalo Bills, and receiver Braylon Edwards is unlikely to return now that wide receiver Plaxico Burress has agreed to a one-year deal with the team.
After missing out on Asomugha, retaining Cromartie became the Jets' best option to place on the other side of Revis. The Jets did not seem to think former No. 1 pick Kyle Wilson, coming off a shaky rookie year, was ready for a starting role.
Cromartie played well in 2010, especially over the first half of the season, but his inconsistency chafed the coaching staff at times.
He finished with three interceptions and recorded a team-high 18 pass break-ups, but he also committed the most penalties on defense and surrendered a team-high seven touchdown passes.
The Jets acquired Cromartie, 27, last year in a trade with the San Diego Chargers. The price was steep -- a second-round pick -- and it would've been embarrassing if they had lost him after only one year.
He was considered one of the rising talents in the league in 2007, when he was an All-Pro in his second season after getting an NFL-leading 10 interceptions, but struggled on and off the field. Cromartie's tackling was an issue in San Diego, but he vowed to get better when he came to New York, and clearly improved in that area although he led the defense in penalties.
Cromartie was also dealing with paternity issues at the time of the deal, with seven children by several women, but the Jets advanced him $500,000 to help clear that up. He has since married reality TV star and model Terricka Cason, and often tweets about the joys of family life and his faith.
The Jets reported for training camp at their facility in Florham Park, N.J., on Sunday, with their first practice scheduled for Monday afternoon.
"Ok guys taking off c u guys at Florham Park," Cromartie tweeted. "God Bless u all...Jet sailing 2 be a JET...goodnight 2 some and good morning to others I'm out."
Rich Cimini covers the Jets for ESPNNewYork.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.