The New York Jets are expected to release cornerback Antonio Cromartie by March 30, when his $5 million roster bonus kicks in. Cromartie is coming off a season hampered by injury, with the possibility of offseason hip surgery still looming. Antonio Cromartie has made it known that he wants to spend the rest of his NFL career with the Jets. While it seems to be a given that the Jets will release Cromartie, the team could re-sign him at a reduced price afterwards.
Antonio Cromartie has quietly had an excellent run with the New York Jets, overshadowed by Darrelle Revis in his first few years with the team before earning more recognition in his absence (due to injuries to Darrelle Revis and his eventual trade to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers). This past season Cromartie dealt with a hip injury that may need surgery this offseason. At the age of 30, with a $5 million roster bonus due March 30 and an overall cap hit of $15 million, there are many signs pointing to Antonio Cromartie being released by the Jets this offseason.
This is expected to be a busy offseason for the Jets. Mark Sanchez is expected to be released which, along with the expected release of Antonio Cromartie, will open up a ton of salary cap space. Still, Antonio Cromartie expects to retire as a member of the Jets:
"I expect to retire as a Jet," Cromartie told NFL Network. "If anything that comes about with [the expected release], it's going to be a situation of me trying to understand what there is to do, talk with my family, understand what we have to do if that situation ever came about. But I always considered myself a Jet and going to retire a Jet. Until I'm told otherwise, that's my feeling."
Antonio Cromartie has been good for the Jets and the Jets have been good for him. Cromartie has matured over his time with the team and improved as a cornerback under the tutelage of Dennis Thurman and Rex Ryan. Cromartie was the best No. 2 corner by far when Darrelle Revis was still around and stepped up as a bona fide No. 1 cornerback when given the opportunity. It's a good partnership and one that should continue – at a discounted price for the Jets.
Despite his obvious talent and track record, teams will be wary of signing Antonio Cromartie this offseason due to the injury. Cromartie clearly wasn't moving as well as he normally does through the end of the season and he will have to prove that he can regain that form. If the Jets want him back, it's unlikely that they get outbid for his services in 2014 and beyond.
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