The Jets have parted ways with veteran cornerback Antonio Cromartie — at least for now.
New York announced Sunday afternoon they had released the eight-year veteran, who spent the last four seasons with the Jets. He had 13 interceptions in those four seasons, the best of which came in 2012 after All Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis was injured. He made the Pro Bowl in 2012 and 2013.
Cromartie struggled last season — despite the surprising Pro Bowl nod — though the biggest thing working against him was his salary. Cromartie's cap hit in 2014 would have been $14.98 million if he had not been cut due to an upcoming $5 million bonus.
There was plenty of discussion about cutting the veteran, however, it was also discussed that Cromartie would re-sign at a smaller figure. But head coach Rex Ryan's statement released Sunday makes it sound like that may not be in the offing, despite high praise.
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“Cro is one of the finest athletes I’ve ever coached," Ryan said. "He was willing to contribute wherever the team needed him to win games, be it defense, special teams or offense. He has a passion and enthusiasm for the game and I wish him and his family the best.”
Free agency began on Saturday, though teams could only negotiate deals and not begin signing players not already on their rosters. Everyone is free to sign beginning March 11.
Cromartie was drafted in the first round out of Florida State by San Diego and traded to the Jets for a third-round pick in 2010.
Last year's first-round pick Dee Milliner and Kyle Wilson, also a first-round pick, are now the top corners on the roster. Both have struggled, though Milliner excelled late in his rookie campaign and won Defensive Player of the Week in Week 17. The team also just re-signed backup corner Darrin Walls, who mostly plays on special teams, last week.
Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports.