Posted by Ryan Wilson
Antonio Cromartie had to wait a few days for the Nnamdi Asomugha situation to play out, but he's a Jet again, signing a four-year contract, the Associated Press reported early Monday morning.
New York, like almost every other cornerback-hungry team, were pursuing Asomugha, who eventually signed with the Eagles for $60 million over five years. Cromartie, who is known as much for his coverage skills as his aversion to tackling, had to settle for $32 million, a relative bargain.
Cromartie's return also means that the Jets have an established veteran cornerback to line up opposite Darrelle Revis. The alternative -- 2010 first-rounder Kyle Wilson -- had an uneven rookie season and may not yet be ready to move into a starting job.
Still, for all the talk about Cromartie's one-dimensional style of play, or Wilson's growing pains, the Jets were among the league's best pass defenses a year ago. As Yahoo.com's Doug Farrar notes, New York ranked seventh in the league against the pass, according to Football Outsiders. And, yes, Cromartie isn't tackling machine, but New York was second against the run, too. They're doing something right … which makes you wonder why general manager Mike Tannenbaum and head coach Rex Ryan were willing to pay an extra $28 million for Asomugha to only see marginal improvements.
Then numbers like this remind you why (via Farrar):
"According to STATS, Inc, Cromartie had the fifth-best percentage of catches allowed per targets among corners targeted at least 50 times, giving up 47 passes in 107 targets for a 43.9 % catch rate. However, he was also debited for giving up seven touchdowns, the most of any cornerback in the catch rate top 10. Among qualifying cornerbacks, only Washington's DeAngelo Hall and Cleveland's Sheldon Brown gave up more scores. This stat speaks to the downside of Cromartie's estimable athletic talent —- he's a player able to cover anyone in any part of the field, but he will suffer coverage lapses and give up the occasional exasperating play. It's just the nature of the beast."
A beast the Jets are quite familiar with. And one that will no doubt play a part in any success the defense has in 2011.
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