Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

05 Mar 2010

Jets To Acquire Antonio Cromartie

It's not quite like putting Nnamdi Asomugha opposite Darrelle Revis, but if Cromartie even comes close to meeting his potential, this definitely helps the Jets avoid regression to the mean on defense. Apparently, the deal is for either a third-round pick or second-round pick depending on how well Cromartie plays this year. I'm bummed that rumored Detroit deal didn't work out -- they needed a cornerback badly.

The Lions did end up acquiring Corey Williams in a trade with the Browns, though, which should add depth up front.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 05 Mar 2010

52 comments, Last at 08 Mar 2010, 2:49am by DeltaWhiskey


by Nathan :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 1:02am

As a Pats fan, scary, especially with Jenkins back to bolster the run D. As a football fan, hard to hate a coach who builds around D and generates sound bytes like Ryan does.

by loneweasel (not verified) :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 1:02am

And if Freddie Prinz Jr. could reach his potential, he'd be the latter day Bogart.

Not a fan of this move. Never thought Rex Ryan would actually want to add a coward to his squad. There's got to be better alternatives outthere in the draft or a trade.

by Nathan :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 1:08am

It's not like Freddie Prinze Jr. has ever impressed. Cromartie, for all his faults, has had at least 1 exceptional year, right?

by Brendan Scolari :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 1:12am

Half a year, I believe, but yeah.

by Bobman :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 2:53pm

He still pays Peyton Manning royalties for that year. Take out that one phenomenal game with the leaping one-handers in the rain (his first start replacing Jammer? Did he pick Manning 2 of 6 times, or 3 of 6 in a prime-time nationally televised game?), and most people probably can't tell him from the guy on the Cardinals.

by Nathan :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 2:56pm

3. But you're forgetting the 109 yard FG return aka the record that can't be broken. People would know him for that.

by Mr Shush :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 7:52am

Freddie Prinze Jr's "acting" range consists of three different positions for his eyebrows - there's no potential to reach. The talent identification process in football is far more efficient than that in Hollywood: Freddie's football equivalents play special teams for bottom-feeding high school programmes, and definitely don't get to bang Sarah Michelle Gellar.

by tuluse :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 12:31pm

I think you underestimate Hollywood. That or you don't understand they are trying to make money not art.

by Ghost In The Shell (not verified) :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 1:20am

Who's got a better secondary then the NYJ's now? Anyone?

by loneweasel (not verified) :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 1:31am

They only have half a starting safety in Jim Leonhard, since Rhodes will be shipped off sometime soon.

by Brendan Scolari :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 3:38am

Nope, not unless they really are dealing Rhodes. Even still, depending on his replacement, they could have the best.

by KarlFA :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 2:04pm

When the Dolphins replace Gibril Wilson, they will be equally fierce in the secondary. AFC East is gonna be tough.

Karl, Miami

by Johnny (not verified) :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 8:22am

I remember reading some site's metrics and Cromartie was the worst CB in the league 2 years ago. He wasn't that good last year either. Jammer got better, while Cromartie still lived off his good year in '07 where he had all those pics.

He can't tackle, and he's not great in coverage. And he can't read (no I'm serious, there was a story on ESPN a few months ago talking about a whistleblower from FSU said the football program used to have people take tests for the kids and it got so bad Cromartie didn't even know how to read..sad actually).

But he's athletic, so maybe Rex can tutor (and read) for him

by Karl Cuba :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 11:19am

Wasn't that illiteracy rumour debunked pretty soon after? I think I remember him tweeting about it, which would seem to imply that he can read at least 140 characters at a time. Though there is the chance that his agent is tweeting for him. I watched an interview with him on Total Access and he didn't appear to be that stupid.

He had been complaining about the Chargers playing too much zone (transition from Wade Philips' scheme to Ron Rivera's) and that he regards himself as a man cover corner, which would fit nicely with the Jets. It's certainly easier for a dunce to line up opposite his man and run after him that make complicated zone reads. I think this is a good move for the Jets, especially as it a 2011 pick.

by Mark S. (not verified) :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 12:59pm

Unless he had a ghost-tweeter.

by Bobman :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 2:55pm

Well, we all know he can score.

sorry, couldn't resist. Maybe Ryan got him because NY was one of the few states with an NFL team where Cromartie has not started a family....

by sundown (not verified) :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 6:51pm

"...used to have people take tests for the kids and it got so bad Cromartie didn't even know how to read..."

So he regressed and FORGOT how to read? That would be sad.

by Led :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 8:45am

Well, they didn't give up a lot for Cromartie. Downside is a 2011 3rd rounder. But I'm concerned about his discipline and focus. He just doesn't seem to have his spit together. The coaches had a problem with Rhodes last year, who may not be a gym rat but has been a solid professional his whole career. What are they going to do with a mess like Cromartie? Oh well, I'll keep my fingers crossed and trust Ryan and Tannenbaum.

By the way, I'm pretty sure Rhodes will be back.

by Guido Merkens :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 9:55am

This trade seems like decent value, as were the trades for Sanchez and Edwards. But at some point, won't shipping off all those early-to-mid-round draft choices hurt the Jets' depth (see: Redskins)? Or does that type of thing not matter now that there's no cap?

by loneweasel (not verified) :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 10:18am

The Patriots always have a million picks in every draft. How does their depth look? They were a spread offense team who ran out Randy Moss and a bunch of special teamers at WR at the end of last year. If you only pick injured busts, more mid-round picks just means more mid-round wastes.

Depth as a concept is overrated. Has there been a team recently that's been killed by lack of depth that wasn't talent poor in the first place? Talent is always the first and last thing in pro football. Accumulate enough of it and depth takes care of itself.

by DeltaWhiskey :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 10:35am

"Depth as a concept is overrated."

Please elaborate and defend this statement.

by Zack :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 10:56am

If the Giants had depth behind Kenny Phillips in 2009, their season might have turned out much differently. Depth is only overrated to the Cowboys since their players never get hurt.

by loneweasel (not verified) :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 11:05am

Their secondary wasn't much to write home about before Phillips' injury, especially if the front 7 didn't generate any pressure. Bill Sheridan has the coaching ability of a doorknob. Consequently the front 7 didn't generate any pressure.

by Mark S. (not verified) :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 1:03pm

Well I think their secondary is pretty good if Phillips and Ross are healthy. But even if it wasn't much to write home about, there's a huge gap between "undistinguished" and "Aaron Rouse and CC Brown starting games for an NFL team."

by Nathan :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 12:07pm

Pittsburgh's defense in 2009 with and without Troy Polamalu? Didn't the Jaguars lose like 4 guards in 2007 and their run game dried up? They were a pretty decent team that year. I'm sure someone can come up with some others.

by td (not verified) :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 10:13pm

the Jags lost all their guards in 2008, and it killed their season. they fell from pushing the undefeated Pats in the playoffs to 5-11.

by Nathan :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 10:24pm

Yeah that's what I was thinking of.

by Bobman :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 3:05pm

RE lack of depth spelling doom:

Watch the last super bowl again. The answer to your question is Colts, DE depth after Freeney. With his ankle fresh, he had the only sack of the game and constant pressure. With it stiffening up in the second half they forced ONE 4th down.

Actually watch their last three playoff losses. Feb 2010 the SB loss noted above. Jan 2009 in OT to the Chargers where Sproles and Gates ran wild in the middle partially because Brackett was out with a broken leg. Jan 2008 to the Chargers, no pass rush (Freeney and Mathis out) allows Billy Volek to win a playoff game.

In all three games, their QB passed for over 300 yards, yet all three were losses, partially due to lack of defensive depth. Each team has its own super-critical key position, where the dropoff to #2 is probably so great that depth doesn't really matter--think starting QB. What you want in those positions is the Joe Montana to Steve Young dropoff, but nobody can afford a starting quality backup these days, needless to mention a HOF-quality backup. For the Colts, this is QB and RDE. Other teams it might be WR or LT or NT or RB. The Pats have been very successful and consistent despite fielding 100% replacements in their D secondary 5-6 years ago in a SB-winning campaign, and they won 11 with a backup QB in for 16 games in 2008. My guess is their critical depth position is WR (Welker) and DL.

by sundown (not verified) :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 6:55pm

"Has there been a team recently that's been killed by lack of depth that wasn't talent poor in the first place?"

That's a circular argument--no depth means you're talent poor by definition. And if you're trying to say that you don't need depth as badly if your whole starting lineup are Pro-Bowlers, then, duh.

by Dean :: Sun, 03/07/2010 - 3:54pm

Why are we feeding the troll?

by Led :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 10:22am

Trading one pick for one young player has little to no impact on depth. The Sanchez, Edwards and Greene moves (and the Revis and Harris moves, to go back a bit further) could theoretically hurt the team's depth. However, their relative success with late round picks and undrafted free agents has tended to mitigate that risk so far. I don't think the strategy would be sustainable over time, but I also don't think the Jets will continue to make so many of those kinds of moves.

by tuluse :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 12:30pm

Draft picks are used to acquire players. If you get useful players by trading picks instead of drafting players with them, what's the difference?

by sundown (not verified) :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 7:02pm

Agreed. But you constantly see teams act as if draft picks are these magical, can't-miss prospects. They'll balk at sending a pick for an established player when most draft picks don't end up being anything. First round or first half of the second round? Sure, you'd better think twice before sending those away in a trade. After that? Give me somebody who's proven he can actually play, as long as he's not old or hurt.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 11:12am

Am I the only one who thinks this may not be a good fit? I would tend to think that, if you're a blitz-happy defense, you really want your secondary to stay at home and make a tackle if the rush doesn't get there. Cromartie's a risk-taking kind of guy who tends to try to go for the big INT rather than, you know, actually pretending to try to tackle. Seems to me that this signing could really bite the Jets and lead to "oooh, who's the #2 WR going up against the Jets this week!" fantasy moments.

by C (not verified) :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 2:10pm

Why does everybody assume that people only have 1 skill that fits into 1 mold and if you ask them to do something else they will be totally lost?

Crow bar is a (blank) guy and can only do (blank) which doesn't fit perfectly with (blanks) schem and Crow Bar can't learn (blank), therefore it's a bad idea.

Dude, there is MAN coverage and ZONE
Cromartie can play MAN
The Jets blitz and play MAN
He's discontent in SD
The Jets brought him over and didn't give up a kings ransom

Crowmartie is similar to Ike Taylor, and he now has one of the better defensive coaches in the league that will be working with him. A guy that people on this site make fun of, but that did a pretty darn good job last year with what he had.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 3:30pm

Really? There's MAN and ZONE? I had no idea, really. Well, that settles it. A tendency to blow plays because you're trying for an INT and an utter inability to tackle sure as heck wouldn't be liabilities in MAN coverage. I mean, those things wrong with him? Absolutely no way they'd be more of a liability in man coverage as opposed to zone!

by commissionerleaf :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 5:16pm

1. Re: man vs. zone: Jason David.

2. Ike Taylor is the exact opposite of Cromartie. Cromartie is more like a less talented Asante Samuel.

by C (not verified) :: Sat, 03/06/2010 - 8:20am

- He's not blowing plays off to try for an INT, that's a lazy statement. It makes me wonder if you even watch the Chargers or just repeat what others say.
- He doesn't like to tackle... most corner's don't. Deion Sanders wouldn't tackle.
- Jason David sucks in man and sucks in zone.

Cromartie has the athleticism to play man...
Which is harder to play than zone...
His pass rush (especially at the start of the year) in SD was terrible...
Terrible pass rush tends to make corners look bad...

Crow bar now has one of the better defensive coaches in the league, and you have a physically gifted corner who can play man on a defense led by a guy who'se dad made the 46 defense famous... Hmmmm.

Captcha: Fong that

by DeltaWhiskey :: Mon, 03/08/2010 - 2:49am

"Why does everybody assume that people only have 1 skill that fits into 1 mold and if you ask them to do something else they will be totally lost?"

Am I the only one who appreciated the irony in this statement?

by Lola was a dude (not verified) :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 12:14pm

Is it just me, or doesn't the fact that they traded him to the Jets, as opposed to the Lions, say a lot? It's not quite the same thing as Bledsoe getting traded to the Bills, but you have to think the Chargers think there's a chance they'll be playing a big game against the Jets again some time.

by Led :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 1:31pm

It says the Jets offered marginally better value than the Lions. Not much else.

by Nathan :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 1:36pm

It also says the Jets have the best D in the league and the best Defensive coach in the game. The Lions... are 2-30 over the last two years.

Wait, that's actually a reason to banish him to Detroit if they hate him so much in SD.

by Bobman :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 3:10pm

Maybe they're hoping and planning to face hiim in the postseason....

Why do you think the Colts castoffs keep ending up in Tennesee? It's worked out well except for one season.

by Lola was a dude (not verified) :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 4:05pm


I'm sure what you meant to say is that we desperately wanted to keep Nick Harper, and that his loss to a divisional rival was a crippling blow.

by BywaterBrat :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 1:43pm

This is unbelievable- reminds me of building a great Madden team. Now opponents can either go after Revis and lose efficiency or take the risk of goign after the ball-hawk. Curious to see if they will deal Rhodes now that they might want soemoen a bit more speedy (though less good all-around) for damage control behind Cromartie.

Also, think that Rex will be able to blitz more frequently now. I'm too lazy to pull the stats but it was my impression that the NYJ didn't blitz all that much, at least compared to popular conception of Ryan's preference.

I might put money on the Jets to win the division as the more I think about the Pats, I just don't seen anything improving from last year.

by C (not verified) :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 2:14pm

Going into the playoffs last year, the Patriots were still kings of the AFC East.

Now, after the Jets playoff run
Now, after the Jets bringing in a corner ( which allows Ryan to do his THANG more)

I'm wondering if the Jets will be the trendy pick of the AFC East next year or if the national publications will stick with the Patriots. I'd bet money the Football outsiders will still have the Pats winning the AFC East next year, but I'd bet that more than a few publications will have the Jets as the favorite next year... People love teams that did well in the post season the year before ( check), and people love teams that make splashes in free agency (check)... and even though in reality they will probably lose Thomas Jones, one of the more underrated RB's in the league.

by Bobman :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 3:13pm

God yeah. I can see a LOT of people picking the Jets in the AFCE (and maybe some to pick them to go to the SB) and there's not a lot to dislike on paper--their accident-prone rookie QB improved throughout the season and should be playing at a higher level in 2010, Edwards will be their deep threat for a whole season, not just 10 games or whatever, the D will have Jenkins in theory all year, and Cromartie.

I'm not saying that is entirely rational, but it is defensible.

by Led :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 3:29pm

I'd still put NE first, if for no other reason than we have no idea how much (if at all) Sanchez will improve, but the gap is closing. The thing about the Pats is that Moss will be 33. A steep decline and/or injuries to him will devastate their offense unless they get some more talent at WR. I'm not ready to predict a steep decline because he's still playing great, but at his age it could happen at any time.

by C (not verified) :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 3:56pm

Accident prone rookie QB... Can't you just say rookie QB? I mean, aren't most rookie QB's accident prone?

The Jets are in a prime spot to be overrated by the national media, they did all of the correct traditional things to *get* overrated. Whether it happens or not we'll see. I doubt the outsiders will pick the Jets next year, they will probably have some disclaimer about how the Jets *could* do well to cover their butts but I doubt they make the pick.

If the Jets tender Brandon Marshall, all bets are on for the publications to all pick the Jets.

by Nathan :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 4:03pm

If the Jets land Brandon Marshall I do think they become a legitimate super bowl contender as long as Sanchez doesn't have a terrible sophomore slump.

Great D, Jenkins coming back, Washington coming back, Edwards, Marshall, Brad Smith trickery, Dustin Keller... that's a pretty loaded team. I think that makes up for the loss of Thomas Jones.

by commissionerleaf :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 5:20pm

Thomas Jones was their third best RB anyway until Washington got hurt. The problem is Sanchez, who is unbearably awful if asked to actually throw the football.

by sundown (not verified) :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 7:11pm

Because most other rookies are pure money throwing the ball? Too soon to judge him.