When they write the obituary of Mike Tannenbaum's run as the Jets' general manager, they will probably run out of different ways to call him an aggressive gambler. He's made big, risky move after big, risky move since taking over the franchise's reins and he isn't showing any sign of stopping.
The Jets made the first shape-changing deal of the 2010 offseason by dealing a 2011 draft choice to San Diego for cornerback Antonio Cromartie. The move gives the Jets a cornerback who isn't 26, has already been an All-Pro and is known as someone who consumes opposing receivers with all the difficulty of consuming M&M's.
Actually, it gives them two of those cornerbacks.
Darrelle Revis may be an island, but he's no longer alone in his attempt to stop passing games on a weekly basis. Cromartie is going to make life that much more difficult for quarterbacks. He's 6-2, can play physically with big receivers and his presence will allow the Jets to turn up the pressure to withering levels in the coming season.
How in the world could the Jets land a player like this for, at most, a second round draft pick?
A fine question and you might not like the answer. Cromartie was mighty inconsistent in 2009 and you might have already seen the video evidence of his sometime indifferent approach to tackling against the Jets in the playoffs. Off the field, he's been something of a mess. He's got seven kids in five states, Cromartie Island is much more populated than Revis Island, which may make learning the playbook secondary to other refresher courses. He also has legal issues related to child support and traffic violations to clear up and ran afoul of the Chargers for tweeting about the poor quality of food at the team's training facility. He's not exactly like Revis, in other words.
The Jets have done well with players who come to town with baggage in recent years. Kris Jenkins was seen as a malcontent in Carolina but has been great since joining the Jets and Braylon Edwards was a model, if butterfingered, citizen after coming over from Cleveland. Contracts were a big concern for each of those players and Cromartie will be playing out the final year of his deal in 2010.
That's the kind of motivation that can wind up working out for both sides, but this is certainly a risky play by the Jets. Filling all their needs this offseason was going to take at least one sizable gamble, though, and Cromartie is as good a player to take it on as any.