You can't say Antonio Cromartie didn't see this coming. The New York Jets informed the veteran cornerback of his release this weekend, according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, validating the prediction he made two months ago.
The 30-year-old Cromartie, who struggled last season while dealing with hip and foot injuries, was scheduled to count $14.98 million against the Jets' 2014 salary cap. Though the move will cost the Jets $5.48 million in dead money, it still frees up over $9 million in space.
Cromartie took to Twitter just before the news broke to thank the Jets and their fans.
I would like 2 thank the Jets organization so much with helpin me grow as leader and a player. S/O 2 my teammates I wish u guys the best.— ANTONIO CROMARTIE (@CRO31) March 9, 2014
I would also like to give a big up to The Jets Fan base. Thank you for all the support thru my 4 yr career with you. Thank you again.— ANTONIO CROMARTIE (@CRO31) March 9, 2014
"Cro is one of the finest athletes I've ever coached," Rex Ryan said in a statement released by the Jets. "He was willing to contribute wherever."
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After restructuring his deal last offseason, Cromartie failed to provide consistent play at the No. 1 cornerback position. While he did grab five interceptions, he gave up 937 yards and seven touchdowns -- both third-worst in the league -- and allowed passers throwing into his coverage to post a 100.7 quarterback rating, according to Pro Football Focus, which graded him out as the No. 103 cornerback (out of 110) in the league.
Cromartie's poor play and high salary led him to predict his release back in mid-January.
"I think I (will be)," Cromartie said on NBC Sports Network when asked if he thinks he'll be released. "Just because my cap number is very high. And I had one of the worst seasons of my career this past year. I was banged up. I got hurt in Week 2, but that's not an excuse."
With Cromartie off the roster, the Jets may be eying Alterraun Verner, who will hit free agency on Tuesday unless the Tennessee Titans can re-sign him. A recent report claims the Jets have already contacted Verner, who will be one of the top corners available.