New York Daily News
CRO FLIES AGAIN
Jets cut corner on Antonio, save $8M
FOR THE second time in his career, Antonio Cromartie is a Jets’ cap casualty.
A year after Gang Green brought him back on a four-year, $32 million deal, the team released the 31-year-old cornerback on Monday. The move had been anticipated due to the $8 million Cromartie was scheduled to make in 2016 and his shaky play last season with the Jets. GM Mike Maccagnan was able to save all $8 million in cap space and the Jets won’t take a dead cap charge with his release.
The Jets’ secondary is in solid shape even without Cromartie, as the team’s top three cornerbacks at the moment are Darrelle Revis, Buster Skrine and Marcus Williams, who led the team with six interceptions. It’s still possible the team could bring Cromartie back on a much cheaper contract but the cornerback didn’t seem to be thinking about that when he issued thanks to the organization on Instagram Monday afternoon.
“I would like to (thank) the Jets Organization for bringing me back this past season,” Cromartie wrote. “I had a lot of fun and I know my first have of the season didn’t go well and I thank you guys for pushing and believing in me to keep me on the field so I could finish strong. Today is a sad day for me not because of my release but the guys I became really close in our DB room.”
“To Jets Nation the most important people that make Sunday’s so fun thank you for welcoming me back,” he continued. “You guys are the best fans ever and thank you for sticking next to me through my tough times last season you rock. Keep the excitement in the stands because Coach Bowles will have the guys right this upcoming season.”
The league’s salary cap has not yet been set, but is expected to be between $150 million and $153.4 million, meaning the Jets entered the offseason only about $18 million under that number. The team has several key players scheduled to be free agents, including quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson, nose tackle Damon Harrison, and running backs Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell, so the release of Cromartie will help.
After playing for the Jets from 2010-13, Cromartie was cut by then-GM John Idzik before the 2014 season and played for the Cardinals under Bowles, who was the team’s defensive coordinator.
When Maccagnan took over the Jets front office the team was desperate for cornerback help. So he reunited Revis and Cromartie and brought in Skrine as well. Cromartie though, was signed to what was essentially a pay-as-you-go contract precisely so that the team could get out of it, like they did on Monday, easily. Cromartie started 15 games last season and allowed 42 catches on 83 targets for 790 yards and a team-high seven touchdowns on the season, according to ProFootballFocus.com.