Antonio Cromartie, set to be a free agent for 2015, is likely nearing his last legs as a top flight corner in the NFL. He’s entering the wrong side of 30, with nine seasons of NFL experience to bring to the table.
That said, he’s still an unique talent at his position and instantly bolsters a large number of teams’ secondaries, including the Jacksonville Jaguars. I’m high on having veteran experience with younger players and the Jags secondary is still quite young. I recently highlighted the veteran hole that the release of Will Blackmon brought to the Jags and a player like Cromartie would be able to fill that easily.
Here’s what Gil Brandt at NFL.com had to say about Cromartie in his top free agents over 30 piece:
"If I were a team with a hole at cornerback, I’d definitely give Cromartie a good look. He showed no signs of slowing down in his fourth consecutive 16-game season, contributing the second-highest number of tackles in his career (49) and picking off his usual three passes in his single season with theArizona Cardinals. He’s very long and very athletic and should make an impact on a defense as a solid starter for at least two-plus years."
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A big concern here is that the Jags aren’t looking for someone to come in and start. With Alan Ball, Demetrius McCray, and Dwayne Gratz all ready to contribute as starters, the Jaguars are really looking for someone who can provide some veteran insurance in case one of them struggles again or goes down with injury.
Is that a role that Cromartie would be willing to fill at this stage in his career or does he still want to be “the guy” left alone outside against a top wide receiver, locking down half the field for a defense?
Cromartie will be in charge of the location he ends up and what he wants to end up playing. I imagine he’ll be looking for a spot where he can step in and be a starter right away.
That said, if he did want to be the senior, veteran player for a talented young roster for the Jaguars, I sure wouldn’t mind him providing the help. The Jags could use his 10+ passes defensed and 3+ interceptions per year.