How Rodgers-Cromartie stacks up

In 2009, the Cardinals' Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was one of the NFL's top corners. (Ross D. Franklin/AP Photo)

The latest Kevin Kolb rumor is that the Cardinals are prepared to offer cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in exchange for the Eagles' backup QB.

This one came from Arizona radio host Mike Jurecki, who identified the offer as a "straight-up" deal that would not include any draft picks, at least not initially.

So what does Rodgers-Cromartie bring to the table?

Let's start with the basics. He's 6-2, 182 pounds and just turned 25 in April. Rodgers-Cromartie is signed through the 2012 season and is not scheduled to make a lot of money: $950,000 in 2011 and about $1.1M in 2012.

He was the 16th overall pick in the 2008 draft and made the Pro Bowl in his second season. But statistically, 2010 was completely different than 2009 for Rodgers-Cromartie.

There are several free-agent cornerback options available this offseason. Here's a look at how Rodgers-Cromartie stacked up to them in 2010.

The last column is success rate, a metric used by Football Outsiders, defined as "the percentage of passes that don't manage to get at least 45 percent of needed yards on first down, 60 percent of needed yards on second down, or 100 percent of needed yards on third down."

  Ht. Wt. Age Success Rate (Rank)
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie 6-2 182 25 39% (55th)
Nnamdi Asomugha 6-2 210 30 62% (9th)
Johnathan Joseph 5-11 190 27 52% (43rd)
Ike Taylor 6-2 195 31 52% (45th)

As you can see, Rodgers-Cromartie did not have a particularly good year in 2010. Not only did he have a poor success rate when the ball was thrown in his direction, but he was a horrible tackler.

According to Football Outsiders, he missed 10 of 53 tackle opportunities (18.9 percent), which was the worst rate among NFL defensive backs. According to Pro Football Weekly, Rodgers-Cromartie added 10 pounds of bulk this offseason (as of June 26), presumably to help him be a little more physical.

So those are the negatives.

But there's a bright side too.

In 2009, by the numbers, Rodgers-Cromartie was one of the best cornerbacks in the league. He had a success rate of 63 percent, which was good enough for third-best in the league. Rodgers-Cromartie also had six interceptions and made the Pro Bowl.

So what conclusions can we draw? The talent is there with Rodgers-Cromartie, and it's reasonable to project that with the right coaching and the right system, he can be an effective player.

At the same time, there is risk involved, and he is not as much of a sure thing as some of the veteran free agents available. You don't quite know what you're getting with Rodgers-Cromartie just yet.


I still need to watch some Cardinals games from 2010 to see what went wrong with Rodgers-Cromartie, but my initial take is that acquiring a starting cornerback and a mid-round pick would be good compensation for Kolb.

The assumption would be that he starts opposite Asante Samuel for the next two years and then the franchise decides what to do from there. Samuel will be 32 at that point and is scheduled to make $8.4M in 2012 and $10.4M in 2013. Maybe Trevard Lindley or Curtis Marsh develops into a starter by then. Who knows?

But by plugging Rodgers-Cromartie in at right cornerback with his inexpensive contract, the Eagles could presumably spend big in other areas (perhaps defensive line?).

As we've covered at length here, the Birds lost leverage because of the lockout as QB-needy teams filled their holes through the draft. If the Eagles can get a starting-caliber defensive player with a high ceiling and a 2012 pick, my guess is they'd be pretty happy.

One concern with adding Rodgers-Cromartie to the fold would be youth in the secondary. With Nate Allen and Jaiquawn Jarrett at safety, the Eagles would potentially be playing with three guys 25 or younger in their defensive backfield. Part of me really likes the idea of adding a veteran presence back there like Ike Taylor. Then again, if Rodgers-Cromartie can play like he did in 2009, it probably doesn't matter.

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