Cromartie Out, Marcus Williams In
Yesterday, The New York Jets and general manager Mike Maccagnan decided to cut ties with 4 time Pro Bowler Antonio Cromartie. The Jets knew when they signed him to a 4-year deal that he'd be one-and-done. So they decided to let him go, and the outlook of this isn't that terrible. Head coach Todd Bowles needs good quality cornerbacks in his blitz-oriented defensive scheme. He can't survive on corners who don't succeed well in man-to-man coverage. He already has one good corner in Darrelle Revis, but needs a new No. 2 now that Cromartie is gone.
Cromartie was not as great as we thought he would be this season. The 31 year old corner suffered through a chronic hip condition that took away his extraordinary athleticism. Instead, he tried to out-think his opponents, but lacked the catch-up speed to help bail him out like we are so custom to seeing. At one time, I would've made a case the Cromartie was one of the best corners in the game because he was such a terrific player, especially when the Jets decided to trade Revis in 2013 to the Bucs. He stepped up big for the team. But the Jets made the right decision by letting him walk.
Here are my list of players that can make a giant leap in the 2016 season:
Marcus Williams- I believe in this kid. The second year undrafted free agent only played about 285 snaps this season, but finished with a team-high six interceptions. According to ESPN analyst Rich Cimini he breaks down Marcus Williams interception to one every "47.5 snaps". If projected over a full season, that could be 22 interceptions. In all reality, that's impossible to do and we shouldn't measure a corner by his interceptions, but it gives us an idea to what we can expect from him.
He is a smart, instinctive player with excellent ball skills. He may not have good enough speed for a man-to-man coverage, but remember Todd Bowles switched to a zone coverage defense late in the season. My biggest concern for him is that since he was the No. 4 corner, he didn't match up with No.1 or 2 wide receivers as much. However, being a SEC player, I believe he can make a big jump from dime back to starter.
Buster Skrine- He is being paid over $6.25 million a year, that's the amount a starting corner is making. Let's not also forget that he had some experience with the Cleveland Browns. But He is only 5-foot-9 and is a beast in the slot area. He played 90 percent of the snaps in the slot this year and he's a very good Blitzer.
Free agency- Since the jets saved themselves $8 million by cutting Cromartie, they still don't have enough money to sign a corner to a 5 year deal. However, if they do decide to spend, look for them to make an attempt to sign Jerraud Powers from the Arizona Cardinals. Bowles is very familiar with him.
The draft- If the Jets decide to draft a corner this year one corner comes to mind. Jalen Ramsey (Florida State University). In 2015, Ramsey had 50 tackles with 10 passes broken up and zero interceptions. He can size up with big receivers and reroute them from the line of scrimmage. Some say that he is projected to go first in the top 10 and others say he may go to the second round. If he drops in the second round, that might be good for the jets to pick him up, I doubt they will waste a first round pick on a corner.