Rex Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum took a bold and calculated risk with their heavy pursuit of All-Pro cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha and for a couple of days it looked like their failure to snag the free-agent prize would completely blow up in their face.

When Asomugha choose the Eagles, the Jets were left to scramble, moving on to plan B. Only the plan didn’t start getting back on track as quickly as fans would have hoped. This was all a product of the shortened offseason. If the Asomugha pursuit would have taken place over a normal offseason, no one would have panicked from the wait or from losing the prize. But fans are hungry for football and these Jets fans are awfully touchy about the idea of this team slipping back into mediocrity.

After all the hysteria of the chase of and failure to Sign Nnamdi Asomugha the Jets finally got a heck of a consolation prize in re-signing Antonio Cromartie. ( Photo).

The general consensus was the Jets front office dug themselves too big of a hole in these negotiations, alienating their own free-agents by expressing their love of Asomugha, if they were going to be able to mend the hurt feelings it was going to force the Jets to overpay to retain Cromartie’s services. Taking a look at the numbers it would appear that was mostly hype and panic as late last night (or early this morning, whichever you prefer), Cromartie agreed to return for four years and $32 million ($8 million a year).

Compare that to the Asomugha deal (five years $60 million ($12 million a year), and the Jonathan Joseph deal (also signed a five year deal worth $48.75 Million ($9.75 million a year) and it doesn’t look like the Jets had to overpay nearly as much as people were saying they would, if at all.

Tannenbaum has built up a ton of goodwill with Jet fans and they usually have no problem trusting him blindly, but the Asomugha chase challenged them to trust in his plan B, especially considering it appeared he was moving on it very slowly.

The dream pairing of Asomugha and Revis would have been a wonderful sight to see, but the Jets got last year’s pretty darn good tandem back and were able to retain other key free-agents, such as Rob Turner, Wayne Hunter and Eric Smith just to name a few. Add Plaxico Burress to that equation, and the fact that surely Tannenbaum has yet to put the phone down, and it seems Tannenbaum’s plan B still happens to be better than most GM’s plan A.

With the re-signing of Cromartie the Jets get their talented number two corner, back to play opposite Darrelle Revis, which was absolutely essential for the Rex Ryan defense. Cromartie played well for the Jets last year, albeit somewhat inconsistent, which is why the Jets took the gamble for the better and far more consistent Asomugha.

Cromartie often relies on his raw talent, speed and extreme length to make up ground on receivers instead of attacking players with the proper technique, maybe in year two of this system Ryan can finally get him to buy into the idea of playing more physical at the line. With the Jets still not doing anything to address the lack of a pass rush (other than the rookie DL men, but how much can they contribute this year), it was imperative they re-sign Cromartie so Ryan can run his man coverage and blitz all day.

Bringing back Cromartie also helps offset the loss of Brad Smith as the Jets have already said they are likely to look to Cromartie to help in the return game as well.

Sure Tannenbaum and Ryan had some egg on their face for these last few days from the Asomugha fiasco, but it didn’t take them long to recover. Before free agency started, everyone thought the Jets signing their big three free-agents would be impossible. They were ranked 1) Holmes 2) Cromartie and 3) Edwards, only apparently they Jets never even considered bringing Edwards back mainly due to his love of the NYC night life and “diva,” persona.

Hell many people were even saying the Jets would be lucky if they could retain just one of those free-agents, well they got two of them, kept some other key less known names and signed Plaxico Burress (who remember was a top 5 WR before he literally shot himself in the leg), so it looks like Tannenbaum has proved any doubters wrong again and with camp opening today, the 2011 Jets are ready to make another run at the Super Bowl.

“They say Cro is back, Cro is back all #GangGreen fans say Cro is back.” Cromartie tweeted in the wee hours of the morning thus finally putting an end to any and all doomsday scenarios that were being branded about. Training Camp opens today and it’s clear this team has a plan, now its up to Ryan and his players to execute it.
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