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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Jets get Cromartie and Ship Rhodes to Arizona as the RB Saga Heats Up

Jets get Cromartie and Ship Rhodes to Arizona as the RB Saga Heats Up 
by TJ Rosenthal for Football Reporters Online

The New York Jets bolstered their secondary on the outside while leaving room for perhaps a hard hitting missile on the back end. On Thursday at 11pm, one hour before the start of free agency, they acquired Antonio Cromartie for a 3rd round pick in 2011 that could become a 2nd rounder.. Days later the Jets then dealt Kerry Rhodes to the Cardinals for a fourth rounder in 2010 and a seventh rounder in 2011.. Cromartie comes from San Diego where his  ten interceptions in 2007 gave way to a drop in production and anger from Bolt fans regarding his drop in numbers and run stopping ability. Cromartie's fall out West will be symbolized by his purpoted lack of effort in tackling Shonn Greene during the Jet rookie's 53 yard gallop to paydirt that sealed the Jets 17-14 AFC divsional round win in January.

The deal is for one year at  1.7 million, with 500,000 of it coming in the form of a signing bonus. This to pay off child support for the seven children Cromartie has fathered with six different women in five states. Busy guy. Hopefully a fresh start and a return to a more aggressive  in your face press coverage style will help Cromartie once again become one of the top defensive playmakers in the NFL. Cromartie failed to enjoy current defensive coordinator Ron Rivera's sit back and wait system, a system that risked less as the Bolts high powered offense averaged 28 points a game in 2009.

Gone is Jet free safety Kerry Rhodes. Only days prior, GM Mike Tannenbaum proclaimed that Rhodes would return to the Jets, barring any major turn of events. I guess a middle and a late round pick were enough to change Tanny's mind. The truth is, Rhodes was probably the guy Rex Ryan referred to at season's end when he said he wanted nobody that "stuck out like a sore thumb" to return. Rhodes, a former 4th round pick of the Jets four years back, was once compared to Ed Redd by Ryan but struggled in 2009. Rhodes did help out with some big plays down the stretch after being benched late in the season. The Jets may be looking to acquire a free safety more in the way of a hard hitting type.  

How about University of Tennessee safety Eric Berry? He was arguably the top safety (Berry's highlight reel http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-PG04d4-sI) in college, and is slated to go in the top five of this years NFL draft in April. Don't put it past Tannenbaum to make his way up the draft board as he did with the selection of QB Mark Sanchez last year. Other draft options appear to  include USC's Taylor Mays, slated to go late in the first round. Some question Mays' footwork as a potential issue to be wary of. The Jets currently have the 29th pick. Jet CB Donald Strickland's name has been thrown around as a potential replacement as well. 

Thomas Jones who rushed for 1402 yards and 14 TDs for the number one rushing Jets is now a Chief. Unwilling to pay Jones his 3.3 million bonus due for 2010, the Jets released Jones on Friday. He signed a two year 5 million dollar deal with KC today that will pay him three mil in 2010 while including a 500,000 dollar incentives package. Expect Jones to split carries with Jamaal Charles, the speedy back who tore it up for the Chiefs late in the season. Jones was slated to become the ten carry short yardage hammer behind Shonn Greene and the Jets didn't want to pay 5.8 million for Jones in 2010 for the limited role. Potential replacements include unrestricted free agent Larry Johnson, Mike Bell, "play me or trade me" bruiser Tennessee's Lendale White, Quinton Ganther and perhaps Ladanian Tomlinson, who appears headed to the Vikings as Chester Taylors replacement. Taylor is now in Chicago.

Leon Washington has spoken to former Jets running backs coach and current 49ers offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye about the situation out West. No contact has been made yet with their fornt office according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Rumors also have the Pats as interested in Washington. It would hard on Jet fans to lose both Jones and Washington especially if the Pats are involved. Hopefully the Jets will match an offer for Leon, especially if one comes from Foxboro.

Another player worth watching now is former Carolina QB Jake Delhomme. The one time face of the Panthers was released to make way for QB Matt Moore. Delhomme fell out of favor the past two seasons and in his final 12 games with the club, threw 23 interceptions. The hard nosed gritty Delhomme has developed an ever growing carelessness with the ball reminiscent of Vinny Testaverde prior to the 1998 season when Bill Parcells got a hold of him. Testaverde then enjoyed his best year in the NFL throwing 29 TDs with only 7 ints.

 Discipline can be taught to some. Heart and passion can't. With the backup QB market shrinking, the Jets might want to look at a guy who has been to the Super Bowl, and needs simply to put a halt to the growing number of exorbinant mistakes he's made recently. Many of those picks albeit while playing for a team often trailing late in games, with only one true weapon in WR Steve Smith. The backup QB position, currently held by the shaky Kellen Clemens, has to be upgraded by Tannenbaum. Otherwise the Jets will run the risk of a major drop in altitude should Sanchez miss any extensive time in 2010 due to injury.

 For a team that sees itself on the brink of something Super, they can ill afford to overlook this potential danger zone. A scenario that bit the Super bowl contending Jets in 1999 when Testaverde went down for the season in week one before former Notre Dame star Rick Mirer then failed to pick up the slack. It was a season lost and an opportunity that the Parcells Jets never obtained again. Hopefully a lesson learned for the Rex Ryan Jets as they head into their own Super Bowl contending future. Futures built out of windows that close fast for teams that aren't careful in the department of small details.

follow TJ Rosenthal on twitter@ thejetreport

* Here's the link to  the controversial Shonn Greene TD vs SD. Cromartie wears 31 for the Chargers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edUCQAQ_mB0


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