With the speed at which NFL news is flying it’s going to be difficult to know what is rumor and what is fact. Here is one report I hope is a rumor.
Making early headlines in the day are reports of the Raiders pursuing Jets’ free agent corner back Antonio Cromartie. The irony, of course, is that it is the Jets are in hot pursuit of Raiders’ All-Galaxy corner Nnamdi Asomugha.
Cromartie is among the more prized free agents on the market but he is also one of the more puzzling ones as well. Having seen Cromartie begin his career with the San Diego Chargers, Raider Nation is all too familiar with the inconsistent play that has plagued Cromartie over the years.
To be sure Cromartie is built like the type of corner Al Davis loves. At 6’2”, 210-pounds with 4.4 speed, Cromartie is similar to Asomugha from a physical standpoint. However the former Seminole couldn’t be more opposite that Asomugha in most every other area.
With regards to his game, Cromartie is capable of making big plays but is also prone to giving up pig plays. Relying on him in Oakland’s man intensive scheme seems risky at best. In addition his focus wanes from game to game with one brilliant performance usually followed by a dreadful one. Nothing at all like Asomugha whose play you can set your watch to.
Now when it comes to his off-field dealings Cromartie will never be confused with Asomugha. Nnamdi is known for his many charitable works. Antonio is known for his many children fathered over the years. So many that he can’t seem to remember all of the names. Not saying that is any reflection on Cromartie’s character, just pointing out the difference in the type of headlines you might see reported for Antonio relative to Nnamdi.
While the Raiders do need to make some moves in order to shore up the secondary, I’m not sure that Cromartie is the way to go given the nature of Al’s defense. Look how long it took Stanford Routt to develop then consider Asomugha’s progression. If the Jets are willing to let Cromartie walk it says a lot about how they feel he performed opposite Darrelle Revis. Why would things be any different in Oakland?