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Jets Offseason Moves: How Can the Team Replace Antonio Cromartie?

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William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports

With Antonio Cromartie gone, the Jets need to figure out a path forward to replace him. There are many options. Here is how I view them from most likely to least likely.

1. Marcus Williams

Williams was Cromartie's backup in 2015. He played well when called upon in limited action. I do not think he will ever intercept 6 passes again in a season, but his coverage was solid. This would be a bit of a risk. Could Williams step into a bigger role with more snaps against tougher matchups? We don't know for sure, but the NFL is a salary cap league. Teams need young players making small money to grow into starting roles to be successful. Williams might be the best chance the Jets have.

2. NFL Draft

I think there is a much better chance the Jets pick a cornerback early in the Draft than many would like to admit. Corner is a premium position in Todd Bowles' defense. Bowles needs athletes who can match up one on one on the outside. A Draft pick isn't just about replacing Cromartie either. The Jets need to think long-term. Darrelle Revis is in decline. This defense doesn't really work without a shutdown corner who the team can trust to guard opposing number one receivers. Drafting one in 2016 would allow the Jets to break in the new guy while Revis shadows the top target on the other team. It is best to not put that kind of pressure on a rookie, and the Jets would have that luxury.

3.  Bringing Back Cromartie

I have laid out the reasons why I think this is unlikely. Still, Cromartie is about to turn 32 and has shown real signs of decline. It is possible the bottom falls out of the market for him, and he is forced to take a deal close to the minimum.  In that event, he might choose the team and the coach he knows.

4. Free Agency

I would have rated this higher, but I'm not sure whom the Jets would sign. They probably cannot afford the top tier guys such as Kansas City's Sean Smith, the Giants' Prince Amukamara, or the Rams' duo of Trumaine Johnson and Janoris Jenkins. Forget about Josh Norman. Depending on the price, they might not want these guys either. The low cost guys include reclamation projects (Morris Claiborne) and unsignables (Pacman Jones). Buster Skrine's versatility is an asset. The Jets could slide him outside and sign a slot guy like Leon Hall of the Bengals.

5. Dee Milliner

Milliner is still on the roster so he technically has to be on this list. Let's just say he is the longest of longshots. I'll believe he can be a viable starter when I see it.