NFL Stock Up: Week 11

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Every Monday during the season we will take a look back at three players who are entering important stages of their contract that may have helped their stock in upcoming negotiations with their play on Sunday. In addition we will also look at one player signed in the offseason to a new contract that exceeded all expectations and provided exceptional value to his team.

Stock Up

Antonio Cromartie– Cromartie took a one year deal with the Cardinals to prove he still has it and he has been one of the best signings of the season in the NFL. Cromartie went out there to cover one of the best WR tandems in the game and he was part of what was effectively a shutout effort for Arizona. It’s doubtful the Cardinals can re-sign Cromartie next year, but he has certainly earned himself a new deal and then some. And to think the Jets let him go for nothing…

Kenny Britt– Britt signed with the Rams as a reclamation project, hoping to prove that he can be a model citizen and regain the form that had him looking like a very promising player a few years ago. While his numbers this year have not been great, his 120+ yard day was and his big touchdown was the key play seen over and over in the Rams upset win. Britt won’t break the bank this offseason but he is showing that there is enough left to keep him in the NFL at a level above the minimum.

Michael CrabtreeThis summer Crabtree made it known that he wanted to be paid like a number 1 receiver. While he has not delivered on that promise, he has for the last two weeks made some very big plays, including yesterdays big touchdown catch against the Giants. Crabtree still has a few weeks left to get some momentum as he heads into free agency next year.

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New Contract Player Of The Week

Jonas Gray– There were a lot of places to go with this one, specifically the corners in Arizona that helped shut down the Lions, but no player made more of an impact than Gray, who scored 4 TDs and ran for 200 yards in the blowout win against the Colts. Gray bounced around the NFL as a practice squad level player before getting the call up from New England and he’s helping show why running backs are a dime a dozen in this league, just as LeGarrette Blount did for New England last season.

  • Jim

    In the Jets defense, Cromartie had been incredible inconsistent the past couple years, it would have been hard to predict this years productivity. Even then, he has the benefit of playing the #2 WR on each team, not the #1 he would for NY, and has a good situation at Safety behind him.

    • buk

      Cromartie had a legit pro bowl season the previous Jet season when Revis went down with ligament tear. Cromartie was an extremely productive Jet who went on record saying he was open to taking a pay cut. Instead he was cut outright stating Jets never discussed taking a paycut. As high profile corner after corner was signed in free agency Idzik refused to sign Cromartie for les than half he was making before he was cut. Ultimately the Idzik signedthe oft injured Patterson over the 1yr deal Cromartie got Arizona.
      How Idzik treated both Sanchez and Cromartie leaves a bad taste in my mouth as a Jet fan. Clearly Cromartie played through that hip injury all last season for Rex and clearly it affected his play and hurt him in free agency. Forget Revis excellent performance with Patriots, the way Cromartie was treated by Idzik(for Patterson) is the primary example of how to undermine your head coach.

      • Jim

        According to PFF, he had a -0.5 grade in 2010, -1.6 grade in 2011, a very good year in 2012 (don’t have the exact number), and a -11.4 grade in 2013.

        Hindsight is 20/20, sure at this point it looks like they should have kept him, but his age, and negative production 3 out of his last 4 seasons, can you really blame them? 30 year old cornerbacks don’t typically bounce back from that and start playing at a pro-bowl level, his 2013 hip injury notwithstanding. It’s not hard to understand why the Jets let him walk.

        Now, what they saw in Patterson, is more difficult to understand, and obviously the CB position this year has been a disaster with injuries and they can use just about anybody, but to me, as Jets fan, to see Cromartie go last year was not a sad event.

        • buk

          Jets had all the leverage and Cro was under 30 when they decided to let him go. It’s not about 20/20 hindsight, name me a Jet fan who heard of Patterson or felt Patterson was a better player than Cro when they brought Patterson in. Players were approx. the same age and signed similar one year deals but Cromartie had played at pro bowl level in the past and played through injury. Patterson never played a down for Rex so essentially Cro was replaced by Antonio Allen. Allen lost the Patriot game by himself and gave up at least 1 TD in every game he started.
          Cornerback is a premium position, if you decide as GM to cut trade Revis and cut Cro you must have a viable plan to replace loss of that talent. Jets entered the season with Milliner,McDougle and Patterson unavailable and even if they were available that was a risky approach to begin with given their long injury history.
          At WR Idzik cut Ford, Clyde Gates(why was he invited back?), Hill in preseason. They knew their other WR pick Evans was out for year in preseason and another charged with domestic violence. The Jets started season with Nelson,Salas, Saunders on their active WR roster. Saunders and Nelson are not even on the team and in a WR rich draft where rookies are making an impact not a single Idzik WR pick can make a contribution? Is it 20/20 hindsight not to ask why Martaviz Bryant was not selected in 4th RD ahead of Jet 4th rd picks Saunders and Evans? Rex’s son plays for Clemson so Jets had to have done their homework on Clemson because they drafted QB Boyd who later cut a few rds later.
          Idzik says his connections to Seahawks gave him firsthand knowledge which helped secure problem child Harvin at 10 Mil per year and 4th rd pick in mid season. Harvin is overpaid yet Idzik’s Seattle connections made him pass on signing Golden Tate for entire season at 6mil per year giving up no draft picks.
          I’m sorry but it’s not just about Cro. You can’t come into a season with no starter caliber corners, no depth whatsoever at WR (after Decker & Kerley), and no punt or kickoff returner and expect to win against teams we faced in our first 8 games. It’s unfair to Jet fans who had major concerns in the offseason, unfair to Jet coaches and as poor as he played unfair to Geno.

        • Id have to go back and look at PFFs stats and see how much of those were grades based on run defense and penalties versus coverage. I know when I put his numbers through back in 2010 and possibly 2011 he was basically a top player. I remember it because my theory was if you are going to pay Revis you need a top number 2 because it does little good to get the Asomugha treatment only to see every pass get cycled to the 2 and 3 and completing 65% that way.

          That said Cromartie was brutal in 2013 and Ive always been of the mindset that once his bodt went he would be bear useless but either he proved me wrong or his body is in better shape now than we knew.

          I do think his release came because Cromartie was a possible pain in the locker room. He was also too in with Rex which the GM did not want especially since he wanted his corner to be the top guy. Thats the only logical reason for not even talking with him and then going and signing an inferior player with a far greater injury history. Cromartie was not happy with his release because of the way it was handled and the fact that they did not even make an attempt to keep him.

          • buk

            Completely forgot the jets swung and missed big pursuing Asomugha only to have the sense to swallow their pride and sign Cromartie. Asomugha is not even in the league anymore(like Patterson) so I guess the lesson don’t delete Cro’s number if you don’t have to.
            I’ve also heard rumors of Cro being a divisive force in the locker room but the guy played hard and played injured. Hard to stomach both Cro and Revis are playing wonderfully on essentially 1 yr deals helping their teams to division leading records. Cro has like 8 kids and needs the money since he admitted he blew his rookie contract and it was Tannebaum who gave him an advance on his last deal to pay off his debt.
            Just too many baffling decisions made by our GM, only the Raider’s GM had a more inexplicable offseason imo.

    • Tyler Ferree

      My issue with the situation with cro was that they could have cut out the roster bonus but then they could keep negotiating to jet his cap number down and if they get one of the top corners, great formative becomes a luxury if not they don’t a top option well you have a fall back that you know.