When the Jets traded for cornerback Antonio Cromartie late last week, the statistic that jumped off the page about him had nothing to do with tackles, interceptions or touchdowns. It was the fact that he had seven kids in five different states, a brood that was causing Cromartie all sorts of legal problems thanks to his difficulty meeting his child support obligations.
Although Cromartie signed a $12.5 million contract in 2006, he apparently wasn't in a position to rectify those problems without getting some cash in a hurry. Donating blood doesn't pay what it used to, he wasn't going to start getting game checks for a few weeks now and who knows what other past indiscretions might find their way into a courtroom between now and then, so this created something of a problem. Enter the Jets.
Quite understandably, the team don't want to have their shiny new bauble distracted by any off-field issues so they've decided to restructure his contract to give him $500,000 right now to help take care of his responsibilities.
One would hope they also kicked in a direct line to the Trojan customer support center so that Cromartie's future contraceptive needs could be handled with a little less messiness.
Whatever you might feel about the reason why the Jets are making this decision, it's the right move for the team. Trading for Cromartie and then watching him spend long chunks off the offseason in courtroom versions of the "Maury" show doesn't benefit the team and that should be their only concern. Well, that and making sure Cromartie doesn't plan to hit the other 45 states before the season starts. A man needs energy to play cornerback, after all.
Cromartie's lucky, at least in one regard. In previous seasons, the salary cap might have made it difficult to shift the pay schedule around. The lack of a collective bargaining agreement has eliminated the cap this year, though, so Cromartie is getting the help he needs from his new employers.
That said, we wonder if Cromartie even noticed the difference. After all, uncapped years are clearly nothing new in his life.