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Antonio Cromartie Isn't a Risk the Jets Had to Take

antonio cromartieWe’ll start out being positive about the Jets trading for San Diego cornerback Antonio Cromartie. (Because if we started negative, we’d be worked into such a lather we’d never get to the positive.)

* Picked off a league-high 10 passes in 2007!
* This guy knows his stuff and he feels Cromartie fits in well with the Jets because of the pressure they put on QBs via the blitz.
* He’s in a contract year!
* Once upon a time, Cromartie impressed Rex Ryan at a workout.

Everybody excited? Woo-hoo! A former 1st round pick who is only 25 (26 in April) and playing for a deal to put food on the table for his 7 kids in five different states will line up opposite the best corner in the game. Can Cromartie shutdown No. 2 receivers? Because the motley crew of Lito Sheppard (he was cut this week), Drew Coleman, Donald Strickland and rookie Dwight Lowery could not. Especially against the Colts in the AFC Championship game.

Now, let’s address the risky part of this deal.

1) Do not say, ‘they only gave up a 3rd round pick in 2011.’ As noted during the playoffs, the Jets have done exceedingly well in the draft since GM Mike Tannenbaum took over (with one exception). Shonn Greene was a 3rd rounder last year. Brad Smith and Leon Washington were 4th round picks in ’06. Jerricho Cotchery was a 4th rounder in ’05.

2) The Jets need help at wide receiver, too. It looks like Anquan Boldin could be had for a 3rd rounder. Far more value in Boldin for a 3rd rounder than Cromartie. In our opinion, there’s more cornerback depth in the draft’s first two rounds than there is at wide receiver.

3) Cromartie doesn’t tackle. He fears contact. The smart teams will run to his side.

4) We don’t feel the need to delve into the multiple kids with multiple women in multiple states angle. But to pretend it “doesn’t matter” is simply wrong. He’s had plenty of legal battles due to his inability to wear a condom. They will continue.

5) Remember that academic scandal at Florida State earlier this decade? Well, Cromartie was mentioned in an Outside the Lines piece as an athlete who struggled mightily to read. Not going to kill him for this – athletes are kept on the field at all costs at many schools – but when you combine that with his other off-the-field issues, it isn’t a pretty picture. And then you toss in this – sure it’s minor, but still – and the obvious question becomes: How irresponsible is this guy?

We are all for 2nd chances. Who hasn’t done incredibly stupid things in their 20’s? We did too many too count. But for a team building a potential championship contender, this seems like a significant gamble. If Cromartie is a bust, the Jets will have swung and missed badly on two “big-talent, questionable-character” guys in the last two years – Braylon Edwards (a move we were all for at the time) and now Cromartie.

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