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Now What, Jets? Cromartie Takes Off To Arizona On A 1-Year Deal

Loaded With Cash, General Manager Idzik Lets Another Possible Solution Fly Away
Jets corner Antonio Cromartie, right, wraps up Cleveland’s Brian Tyms during the teams’ meeting at MetLife Stadium on Dec. 22, 2013. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

Jets corner Antonio Cromartie, right, wraps up Cleveland’s Brian Tyms during the teams’ meeting at MetLife Stadium on Dec. 22, 2013. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s pretty obvious that the Jets desperately need a starting cornerback, but what’s just as apparent is they never really wanted Antonio Cromartie to return.

That’s evident by the fact that Cromartie, despite wanting to return and being there for the taking for days, agreed to a one-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday.

Tweets blasting the Jets quickly came from Cromartie’s account shortly after the Cardinals confirmed the signing. However, they were later removed. They said:

“It’s amazing how you can be so loyal to someone and they can be so disloyal to you. But you live and you learn.”

“I learned today that it is possible to turn the other cheek when someone slaps you in the face.”

Cromartie’s wife later took responsibility for the tweets.

Your move, John Idzik — and you might want to duck for cover while you’re contemplating.

Fans have been all over the Jets’ second-year general manager since the beginning of the free agency signing period. While their wrath was quelled a bit with the signing of wide receiver Eric Decker, who was viewed by many as the top option at the position on the open market, that happened a week ago. Since then the Jets, despite having tens of million of dollars in cap space, have chosen not to get serious about several players that would fit needs, including top corners Darrelle Revis, Alterraun Verner, Vontae Davis, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Captain Munnerlyn, among others.

Idzik addressed the issue on a conference call with reporters on Thursday afternoon.

“There may be trade talks, players become available that may be of interest. We feel like we’re prepared to act,” Idzik said, adding “We were able to get Ellis (Lankster) and Darrin (Walls) back … and obviously, the draft looms.”

The belief is Idzik has a plan which consists, in part, of not overpaying for anyone. In addition, it is believed that he has no use for older players beyond “prove it” deals. Cromartie will be 30 on April 15. Unless Idzik pulls off an aggressive trade or two, it’s looking more and more like he will attempt to restock the Jets in the draft.

“We’re always aiming to win, but what we’re trying to build here is sustainable success,” Idzik told reporters. “We’re not gonna put a finger in the dike.”

That is always a good thing, but with what is believed to be a win-now mandate and an insane amount of pressure on head coach Rex Ryan to get back into the playoffs for the first time in what would be four seasons, it’s understandable for fans to wonder what exactly Idzik is up to.

When asked if he’s upset about the free agency signing period so far, Ryan stood strong behind his GM.

“There can’t be anything further from the truth. We are in this together,” Ryan said. “I’m proud to work side-by-side with John. We’re in great hands because we have John Idzik as our general manager.”

In his four seasons with the Jets, Cromartie was a reliable and physical corner. He missed just one game and had 13 interceptions. He did struggle with injuries in 2013 that severely limited his mobility, but is expected to be 100 percent healthy in time for training camp.

In Arizona.

REPORT: JETS WON’T GUARANTEE VICK ANYTHING

Free agent quarterback Michael Vick will reportedly visit the Jets this weekend, but if being handed a starting job is what he expects he’s definitely coming to the wrong place.

According to a report in Metro New York, the Jets will not guarantee Vick anything, short of a chance to compete against Geno Smith for the starting job.

Vick is considered by many an ideal fit to back up Smith, who is coming off an up-and-down rookie season. He could mentor the young signal-caller and, should Smith falter, step in and try to help lead the Jets to wins. Vick has great familiarity with the Jets’ version of the West Coast offense after having played under Marty Mornhinweg when he was the offensive coordinator of the Philadelphia Eagles.

However, the consensus among many in the know is the Jets want Smith to be the starter, and a lot of that has to do with the fact that Idzik drafted him.

Vick, a four-time Pro Bowler, spent the past five seasons with the Eagles, but only played in seven games during an injury-plagued 2013 season. The 33-year-old completed 54.6 percent of his passes last season for 1,215 yards and five touchdowns. He was turnover-prone, however, throwing three interceptions and fumbling four times.

For his 11-year career, Vick has thrown for more than 21,000 yards, with 128 touchdowns and 85 interceptions, to go along with 5,857 yards, 36 touchdowns and 7.1 yards per carry on the ground.

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