Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk is reporting that the Arizona Cardinals have signed cornerback Antonio Cromartie to a one-year deal. Financial terms were not disclosed.
This instantly upgrades the Arizona secondary to one of the elite ones in the NFL. It goes along with a stifling run defense that was the best in the league last year. A defensive backfield of Cromartie, Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu is going to make life very tough for opposing quarterbacks.
UPDATED: March 22 @ 0700
The team announced it is a one-year deal worth $3,25 million in salary with a $500,000 incentive if Cromartie is healthy enough to play in all 16 games. Cromartie has dealt with hip flexor injuries in the past. It was surprising to see Cromartie get little attention on the free agent market despite his size and play-making ability.
Arizona’s using smart tactics like in free agency like the one they used with Cromartie.
Not that it mattered. The Cardinals brought him in for a visit late last week and stayed aggressive in their pursuit, (General Manager Steve)Keim said. When Cromartie’s decision remained unsaid, Keim said he “tried to turn up the heat” by bringing in fellow free agent cornerback Mike Jenkins for a visit.
But Cromartie was always the goal, and Keim made sure he knew that. Cromartie said his delay was mostly about including his wife in the decision-making process, especially with a family to bring cross country for what might only be one season.
The team’s official site is reporting that Jerraud Powers could be moved inside to play safety alongside Tyrann Mathieu while Patrick Peterson and Cromartie patrol the corners.
A possible nickname for the defensive secondary has emerged with Cromartie’s signing. The moniker “No Fly Zone” has sprung up to talk about how tough it will be to pass on this defense. About a month from now, we’ll find out who is going to be first in the No Fly Zone when the NFL releases its schedule.