NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — He sure sounds like he wants to come back.
Antonio Cromartie is set to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, meaning he can go anywhere he wants. The thing is, though, the veteran cornerback appears to be hung up on his former team, the Jets. And even his current teammates can see it.
“My house is there, so it’s attractive. But if that doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen,” Cromartie told the New York Post. “At the end of the day, I got to make sure that my options are open and making sure that whatever decision I make, that it’s related to my family and making sure we’re making the right decision not only for me but also for them. It not only affects me, it affects them also with changing schools and for my kids and everything.”
All of that sounds reasonable, of course, but the Cardinals’ Patrick Peterson said Cromartie’s love affair with the Jets seems to run even deeper. And with his former defensive coordinator in Arizona, Todd Bowles, now the Jets’ head coach, it only seems logical for Cromartie to want to go back to what is familiar.
“I’m definitely trying to keep him here,” Peterson told ESPN. “It’s going to be tough, especially with Todd being in New York, and he loves (New York). That’s all he talks about is freaking New York. I’m definitely trying to get him to stay and we’ll see what happens.”
Cromartie struggled through a hip injury during his final year in New York, but was excellent this past season after signing a one-year deal with the Cardinals. He recorded 49 tackles, three interceptions and 10 passes defensed in making the Pro Bowl for the fourth time.
During his four years with the Jets, playing opposite Darrelle Revis for three of those years, Cromartie had 13 interceptions and 51 passes defensed.
If a Cromartie-Jets reunion doesn’t happen, odds are the market will still be strong for the 30-year-old defensive back, who, as usual, is confident in his abilities.
“Everybody else knows what I can do when I’m healthy,” Cromartie said. “That’s what it’s really all about. I think it was just the point of getting back healthy and going back out and playing at a high level. That’s something that I figure I did this season. Not worried about anything else but that.”
The Jets figure to be at least interested in Cromartie, considering their secondary was an utter disaster in 2014 and was one of the many reasons why John Idzik was relieved of his duties as general manager.
New York figures to be more than $40 million under the cap, and will likely be looking to upgrade its secondary. The Jets started last season hopeful that second-year player Dee Millner and rookie Dexter McDougle would grow into a reliable tandem at corner, but both suffered season-ending injuries early.
The Jets ended up going by committee at the position, though rookie Marcus Williams impressed as the season wore on.