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
It's time for a new chapter in my life and now it's time to let my lord and savior lead my steps every step of the way.— ANTONIO CROMARTIE (@CRO31) March 9, 2014
Later on Sunday, the team officially announced that it had released Cromartie with coach Rex Ryan saying in a statement, "Cro is one of the finest athletes I've ever coached. He was willing to contribute wherever the team needed him to win games, be it defense, special teams or offense. He has a passion and enthusiasm for the game and I wish him and his family the best."
Cromartie, who will turn 30 next month, has played for the Jets for the past four seasons, and though he performed well in 2012 -- especially after Darrelle Revis was lost for most of the season -- he struggled in 2013 (according to Pro Football Focus' measurements, he was the 103rd-ranked cornerback out of 110).
But the move isn't a surprise. Cromartie was due a base salary of $4.3 million in 2014, and his salary cap hit would have been nearly $15 million -- the highest total on the team. As it is, he leaves behind $5.48 million of dead money.
Plus, Cromartie expected this transaction.
“Just because my cap number is very high," Cromartie said in January. "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 ... I just had a bad year. That falls heavily on me and no one else.”
The good news for Cromartie. The Packers jut gave cornerback Sam Shields a four-year deal worth $39 million, and though it's unlikely Cromartie will get an offer of that magnitude, the free agent market for cornerbacks, if Shields is any indication, is quite healthy.