Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is the
half-brother cousin of Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie. He spent 2013 with the Denver Broncos, his third NFL team. Originally drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in 2008, he was sent to Philadelphia in 2011 as part of the Kevin Kolb trade. He is set to become a free agent.
Rodgers-Cromartie shares many traits with his
half-brother cousin. Like Antonio, he is an incredible athlete, even by the standards of a league where everybody is exceptionally athletic. He is a big 6'2" corner with blazing speed and extremely fluid hips.
When the Jets traded for Antonio, he was at a low point in his career because the San Diego system he was playing in did not suit his strengths. Dominique had a similar experience in Philadelphia. He had to spend a bunch of time in the slot in 2011 because the Eagles had Nnamdi Asomugha and Asante Samuel. He is very fast in a straight line but not great going side to side. He also had to play a lot of off coverage and zone. Because he is such a physical specimen, Rodgers-Cromartie, like his
half-brother cousin, is at his best in press man coverage. He has experienced a renaissance in a Denver scheme that asks him to play that a lot. In his heart, Rex Ryan wants to have cornerbacks who can excel in man coverage so he can throw all kinds of exotic blitzes at the offense.
Rodgers-Cromartie is on a one year, $5 million deal. After having a good year, he is probably looking at a multi-year deal. There are a number of quality cornerbacks on the market this year likely to earn multi-year contracts, including Aqib Talib and Brent Grimes, both of whom were free agents like Rodgers-Cromartie last year and too short term contracts to boost their respective values. It might be a case where Rodgers-Cromartie ends up with a similar $5 million annual value but just for more years and a bunch of guaranteed money. If that is the case, he will be an intriguing option for the Jets.
The Jets can create around $9 million in cap space by cutting Antonio Cromartie. If they can find a younger, healthier version for less than that, it is something to consider. Rex Ryan would certainly love adding an athletic corner.