On Monday, the New York Jets released cornerback Antonio Cromartie in order to save themselves from being over the salary cap for the second time in three years. Although Cromartie has been cut, he is expected to be more than willing to make a return with the team once free agency comes around.
Darryl Slater of NJ.com stated that Cromartie was willing to come back for less than the $8 million he was expected to make for the 2016 season. Over the course of the 2015 season, Slater mentioned that Cromartie “only expressed optimism” when it came to his time in New York. He also went on to add that Cromartie loved playing for head coach Todd Bowles.
As mentioned previously, Cromartie was set to originally make $8 million this upcoming season, but it is obvious that his production is not worth that range of a salary. With only 26 tackles in fifteen regular season games, his production rate has overwhelmingly declined. The last season (before 2015) that Cromartie went without an interception was back in 2006, his rookie season with the San Diego Chargers.
Although, stats are just numbers, right? Cromartie is one of the most experienced players in todays league. That alone should be enough to make teams curious about a potential signing this offseason. With 114 passes broken up and 31 interceptions, Cromartie may be worth around a range of $4-6 million for the upcoming season for any team.
Cromartie will turn 32 in April, and there are a lot of red flags about whether teams are willing to sign a player potentially “past his prime”. He originally signed a 4-year, $32 million dollar deal with the Jets, although all the guaranteed money came in the first year. The Jets organization will be saving $9.5 million with this surprising cut, but don’t expect Cromartie to retire just year. It is my belief that Cromartie will sign back with the Jets on a much cheaper deal.
According to a poll held together by NJ.com, almost 44% of voters believe that the Jets should re-sign Cromartie. The second most popular option was for the Jets to choose Marcus Williams as the answer for next season (32.5%). In two seasons with the Jets, Williams has 7 interceptions, six of which came from 2015. Those six interceptions from 2015 came from 285 defernsive snaps (27%), and his total was a team-high when it came to interceptions.