Jets prioritizing free agent list and Cromartie isn’t at the top

New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie (31) breaks up a pass intended for Denver Broncos wide receiver Brandon Lloyd at Invesco Field at Mile High on October 17, 2010 in Denver. The AFC East division leader Jets beat the Broncos 24-20. UPI/Gary C. Caskey

There appears to be conflicting reports when it comes to Antonio Cromartie’s future with the New York Jets. NFL Network’s Michael Lombardi is reporting that the team plans on letting the free agent walk this offseason, while Mark Cannizzaro of the New York Post writes that the Jets have not “definitively decided to cut ties” with Cromartie.

Either way, it appears that the cornerback is not high on the Jets’ offseason priority list, which means things are sure to get interesting in Florham Park this spring.

In Cannizzaro’s report, he also confirms that the Jets’ top mission this offseason is to re-sign Santonio Holmes. The team already kept linebacker David Harris by franchising him earlier this week, so ensuring that Holmes is locked in as Mark Sanchez’s No. 1 receiver for the next four or five years is next on the Jets’ list.

After that, it’s unclear whether or not GM Mike Tannenbaum will try to re-sign Braylon Edwards or keep Cromartie. At some point, the Jets have to draw the line. It seems unlikely that they would be able to retain Holmes, Edwards and Cromartie, all while paying Harris top-dollar for one year under the franchise tag. They might be able to keep either Edwards or Cromartie, but not both.

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Antonio Cromartie tells Matt Hasselbeck that he would smash his face in

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck runs off the field after losing to the Chicago Bears in the NFC divisional playoff at Soldier Field in Chicago on January 16, 2011. The Bears won 35-24. UPI/Brian Kersey

Ah, Twitter. Where athletes without internal filters can get into trouble using 140 words or less.

Earlier this week, Jets’ cornerback Antonio Cromartie bashed the NFL and player’s union for the lack of progress in the CBA negotiations. Several players, including Ray Lewis and Darnell Dockett, took issue with what Cromartie had to say and publicly supported the union.

Seahawks’ quarterback Matt Hasselbeck took things a step further by taking a cheap shot at Cromartie’s intelligence by tweeting: “Somebody ask Cromartie if he knows what CBA stands for.”

According to ESPN, the tweet was later removed but not before Cromartie found out about it. The cornerback’s response was nothing short of, well, something Antonio Cromartie would say.

“hey Matt if u have something to then say it be a man about it. Don’t erase it. I will smash ur face in.”

Realizing he said something stupid and knowing full well that the corner would in fact smash his face in, Hasselbeck quickly issued an apology to Cromartie on Twitter using the standard, “Hey man, I was just kidding about what I said earlier!” excuse.

“Sorry for the joke man. No hard feelings,” a tweet from his account said. “DB’s & QB’s have a hard time getting along I guess sometimes. lol.”

Not phased by what any of his NFL mates had to say about his comments earlier this week, Cromartie also defended himself against Lewis and Dockett.

“I don’t give a who about Ray Lewis or [Darnell Dockett] talking about what I said,” Cromartie said in a message posted on his Twitter account, according to the New York Daily News.

“There’s 10’s of thousand ppl who will lose jobs. They taking our healthcare away and for players that have surgery can’t even get rehab once March 3rd gets here.”

What’s interesting is that most fans would agree with Cromartie’s take on the situation. There needs to be less banter and more progress so that we have football next season. But the players don’t need one of their own bashing their union when they’re trying to show a united front. It definitely doesn’t help their cause when one player is telling another that he would smash his face in.

What a mess.

Cromartie rips NFL, players union over stalled CBA talks

Now that the season is over and the Jets have run out of opponents to play, Antonio Cromartie has decided to aim his trash talking at the NFL and players union for their failed CBA talks.


“To me, you need to stop bitching about it,” the New York Jets cornerback said. “And if you wanna say you’re gonna get into a room and meet and greet, and say you’re gonna do what you need to do, then do it. Don’t just talk about it.”

There was little optimism in the Jets’ locker room that the union and the NFL would avert a course that seems to be headed for disaster. The CBA will officially expire on March 4 when the owners can opt to lock out the players.

“Especially when you don’t get no information about nothing from the union or the owners,” Cromartie said. “So to tell you the truth they need to get their damn minds together and get this [expletive] done. Stop bitching about money. Money ain’t nothing. Money can be here and gone. Us players, we want to go out and play football. It’s something we’ve been doing and we love it and enjoy it. It’s our livelihood.”

I second Cromartie’s take on this issue. All we’ve heard so far from people like Roger Goodell is that a new deal will be in place by next season. Yet here we are, just two weeks away from the Super Bowl and a deal remains unsigned. It also appears that the two sides are no closer to agreeing to terms than they were at the start of the year.

How about making some progress before saying that a new deal will definitely be in place before next season?

How does Cromartie plan to deal with Ward? Well choke him, of course.

Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Hines Ward (86) catches this second quarter pass and runs it in for a touchdown against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium in Miami on October 24, 2010. UPI/Michael Bush

I thought the Jets were being rather quiet this week. Turns out they were just waiting for Sunday to talk a little trash.

The Jets’ defensive backs are well aware of Hines Ward’s reputation of throwing blindside blocks and will apparently look to deliver a message to him early.


“We’re going to deal with him early so he knows what type of game it’s going to be, and that none of that stuff is being tolerated,” Jets safety James Ihedigbo said.

Like a tone-setting hit?

“Hell yeah,” the safety said.

Safety Eric Smith hesitated to say what would happen if Ward serves up any cheap shots on Sunday. Why? Because Smith is worried such words might incur a fine from the league.

“If I finish what I said and then do what I planned on doing, I’m going to get fined,” Smith said.

Cromartie said that he doesn’t really care if Ward hits opponents with blindside blocks — as long as he can hit back.

“I really don’t care. You smash him in the mouth, he’s going to smash back, whatever,” Cromartie said. “Does he do it while you’re not looking? Yeah, he does. But who doesn’t?”

The Jets corner allowed that Ward’s hits “can be” dirty. When such hits occur, Cromartie suggests that players “grab [him] by the throat and choke [him].”

Only the Jets could make a conference championship game even more interesting than it already is.

Will Ryan error in putting Cromartie on Wallace again?

Pittsburgh Steelers Mike Wallace pulls in a pass and runs away from Carolina Panthers Nic Harris for 43 yards and a touchdown in the second quarter at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on December 23, 2010. UPI/Archie Carpenter

Far be it for anyone to question one of Rex Ryan’s defensive game plans. As much as fans and members of the media think they know about the game, we actually know very little about the X’s and O’s and what it takes to run a defense in the NFL.

That said, I found something that wrote very interesting about Ryan’s potential game plan this Sunday when it comes to covering Steelers’ receivers Hines Ward and Mike Wallace.

Manish Mehta of the NY Daily News predicts that the Jets will use Darrelle Revis to cover Hines Ward in the AFC Championship Game.

Mehta anticipates Antonio Cromartie covering Mike Wallace. It’s the same way the Jets played Pittsburgh in Week 15, and Wallace went off for 110 yards while Revis held Ward to 34 on two catches. It’d be a mistake, as far as we’re concerned. Using Revis on the declining, 34-year-old Ward would be a waste when the shutdown corner has the ability to eliminate Pittsburgh’s true No. 1 receiver. Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders will remain potential difference makers as they prepare for Dwight Lowery and Drew Coleman.

I think the idea is that since Cromartie has more speed, he can match up better with Wallace. But as Pierre Garcon proved two weeks ago, if Cromartie isn’t allowed to get his hands on receivers at the line of scrimmage and be physical with them out of their stance, he’s liable to get burned deep. And considering Wallace averages over 20 yards per reception, that’s a concern that Ryan should have if he wants Cromartie to shadow the young wideout.

But as Rotoworld points out, this is just a “prediction” by Mehta. Who knows what coverage Ryan will unveil this Sunday in Pittsburgh. He’s well aware of the speed that the Steelers’ wideouts posses and he’s not going to put his defenders in a position to fail. Nobody was more irate at Cromartie on that Garcon touchdown than Ryan was, so he’s well aware of what could happen this weekend if he puts him on Wallace.

Or if he isn’t, then things could get real interesting on Sunday when Pittsburgh drops back to pass.

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