Antonio Cromartie has stated a hip injury that left him struggling all season will not require surgery. He says that he had a strained hip flexor for the entire season. While painful, there is no structural damage to the hip joint.
This is encouraging as Cromartie played poorly in 2013 compared to a dominating season the year before. Whether or not he can return to form is the big question for Cromartie. The dilemma facing the Jets is whether or not to keep their top corner on the roster for 2014.
It is almost a sure thing that the Jets will not keep Cromartie on with his current deal. They will likely be looking to negotiate a bargain rate based on his low level of production last season. The Jets still owe $14.3 million, though Cromartie has stated that he has not spoken with the team about his contract to this point. "That's something I'll let my agents take care. I haven't even been worried about it," said the Jets DB.
Despite not having conversations with the Jets' brass, Cromartie will not be surprised if he is cut. When asked why he thought this might happen he responded, "Just because my cap number is very high, and I had one of the worst seasons of my career... I just had a bad year. That falls heavily on me and no one else." This humility might suggest that he would be willing to work with the team to stay in New York.
Despite his recent struggles, Cromartie says that he will be back at 100 percent by the end of February. He even went so far as to say,"I will be better than I was in 2012." This would put him in a truly elite class as he was one of the league's premier shutdown corners during the 2012 season.
Avoiding surgery will push up Cromartie's timetable dramatically as far as a healthy return for next season. For the moment he is working hard to heal and rehabilitate. "I’ve been doing rehab for three weeks now. So it’s just a point of getting in and just attacking it," said Cromartie.
If the Jets are to return to form as a top defense next season they will need a rejuvenated Cromartie. The secondary struggled mightily last season but another year of development for Dee Milliner and Antonio Allen will help as well.