Multiple reports in recent months have linked the Dolphins to free agent Antonio Cromartie, but it turns out head coach Adam Gase isn’t a fan of the 32-year-old cornerback, a source told Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald (Twitter link). Gase’s aversion to Cromartie stems from the success the former offensive coordinator’s attacks had against the defender in the past, according to Salguero.
Cromartie, a 10-year veteran and four-time Pro Bowler, has been on the open market since the Jets released him in February. That was the end of Cromartie’s second stint with New York, which lasted only one season. It’s worth noting that his first, from 2010-13, began via trade when Dolphins executive vice president of football operations Mike Tannenbaum was Gang Green’s general manager. Given Gase’s opinion of Cromartie, though, it seems as if Cromartie’s connection to Tannenbaum won’t be enough to make a reunion in Miami possible.
Aside from Byron Maxwell, the Dolphins are lacking proven options at corner, as their depth chart shows, but Salguero reported Thursday that they’re “pretty comfortable” with their current group. With second-round rookie Xavien Howard on the sidelines after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery in June, the Dolphins are down to Tony Lippett as the starter opposite Maxwell. Lippett didn’t play much as a fifth-round rookie last year, however, and was a receiver at Michigan State. Gase has expressed confidence that Howard will be back in time for Week 1, but that would mean missing all of camp and the preseason, placing the first-year man behind the 8-ball immediately.
Thanks to their paucity of high-end corners, it seems the Dolphins could use more help at the position – especially after their 2015 pass defense finished 29th in DVOA and 27th in both YPA and quarterback rating against (7.8 and 97.4, respectively). That aid won’t come from Cromartie, it appears, and even if Gase did want him, it’s debatable how much he’s capable of contributing at this point. Cromartie is coming off a poor season, one in which Pro Football Focus ranked his performance 87th among 111 qualified corners, and reportedly has a hip issue that could threaten his career.
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