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Giants Beat Out Jets For Cornerback Rodgers-Cromartie

Big Blue Also Adds Kick Returner Trindon Holliday
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Jets really needed him, but he instead chose to sign with the Giants.

Big Blue continued its impressive offseason revamping on Monday, agreeing to terms on a five-year, $39 million contract with free agent Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, ESPN reported. Rodgers-Cromartie, considered the best cornerback remaining on the open market, will receive $15 million guaranteed.

The 27-year-old Rodgers-Cromartie had three interceptions, including a pick-six, in 15 games last season for the Denver Broncos. He earned a Pro Bowl spot in 2009, when he had six interceptions for the Arizona Cardinals.

He will join a new-look Giants secondary that will feature free-agent signee Walter Thurmond and returning starter Prince Amukamara at corner, and newcomer Quintin Demps, re-signed Stevie Brown and stud Antrel Rolle at safety.

The Giants also reached an agreement on a one-year contract with speedy kick returner Trindon Holliday, Rodgers-Cromartie’s teammate in Denver last season, ESPN reported. Holliday, 28, has six punt and kick returns for touchdowns in his three-year NFL career, but he has struggled with fumbles.

Rodgers-Cromartie said the Giants’ aggressive nature early on in free agency helped convince him just how serious they are about reboundng from their 7-9 mark in 2013.

“The main thing, bringing in guys from Kansas City, Seattle, you can see what they’re doing, trying to bring guys that are going to come in and lead by example,” said Rodgers-Cromartie, who started in the Super Bowl along with Thurmond. “That’s always a plus.”

Rodgers-Cromartie said his relationship with Rolle played a big part in him choosing the Giants. The two played together in Arizona in 2008-09 when Rodgers-Cromartie was just breaking into the league.

“He brought me in, took me under his wing and took care of me,” Rodgers-Cromartie said of Rolle. “So to be reunited with him is just a blessing. I know the things that he’s done in his career and the man he’s become. That’s going to be a help for me.”

The Jets seemingly needed to sign Rodgers-Cromartie, considering they appeared to strike out with several of the top corners on the market, though it’s believed the only truly serious push they made was for Vontae Davis, who ended up re-signing with the Indianapolis Colts.

The Jets are believed to be around $28 million under the salary cap, but have been extremely deliberate during free agency, not budging from whatever price general manager John Idzik has set on a specific player.

Idzik struck quickly, signing free agent wide receiver Eric Decker to a five-year, $36.25 million deal and right tackle Breno Giacomini to a reported four-year deal on the second day of the signing period, but has since been quiet, only re-signing reserve defensive lineman Leger Douzable to a one-year deal and veteran linebacker Calvin Pace to a two-year, $5 million contract.

One person who figures to be concerned about the Jets’ failures to lock up a top-flight corner is head coach Rex Ryan, whose defense tends to revolve around play of the defensive backs. It had been reported earlier that Ryan “won’t be happy” if the Jets lost out to the Giants in the Rodgers-Cromartie pursuit.

So now the Jets may be forced to go back to Antonio Cromartie, whom they cut prior to free agency to get cap relief. He has received interest from Arizona.

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