Despite a down year that included a season-long battle with a hip injury, cornerback Antonio Cromartie would like to come back for a fifth season with the Jets — even with rumors he might be a salary cap casualty this offseason.
It was an incredibly frustrating year for Cromartie given his limitations physically. According to the website Advanced NFL Stats, Cromartie was the No. 64 ranked cornerback in the league — 12 spots behind much-criticized Jets first-round pick Dee Milliner. He is due $14.98 million against the salary cap next year.
Reports last week indicated Cromartie is likely to be cut by the Jets and then signed to a more cap-friendly number. A report on Sunday afternoon claimed he thinks the Jets will likely cut him and even told his teammates as much.
“Honestly man, everything is rumors,” Cromartie told Mike Dunsmore of NBC Sports Radio on Sunday evening. “Until I’m notified and everything else, I’m going to be a Jet for the rest of my career and that’s how I go about it and don’t worry about anything else.”
Cromartie’s statements come just hours after the story broke that he expects to get cut.
The reality of the situation though is that Cromartie can no longer justify his projected cap hit for next year, despite his solid play and Pro Bowl selection in 2012. He stepped to the top of the Jets’ pecking order after No. 1 cornerback Darrelle Revis went down in Week 3 with a season-ending knee injury. His solid play a season ago made it an easier decision for the team to trade Revis this offseason.
Cromartie said he liked what he saw from the locker room which had splintered apart in past seasons, much to the delight of the New York tabloid culture.
“Honestly, the only thing that is really tough about playing there is the media — if you let the media be the tough part about it,” Cromartie told Dunsmore. “I think the best thing we did this year as an organization, we didn’t let the media feed into what they were trying to do, even when they said they were trying to fire [head coach] Rex [Ryan] and all those things there. We didn’t feed into it. We kept playing on, we kept going, we trusted every single guy in that locker room and part of the coaching staff and understood what we were trying to do. We wasn’t worry about anything else — what outside people had to say. We worried about what was in the inside.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.