New England Patriots should stay away from Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie


In his New England Patriots chat on ESPN Boston, Mike Reiss was asked about low-risk, good value free agents out on the market and named Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie as an option for the Patriots. Reiss later wrote, “Think the Patriots have always thought highly of him.”

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Rodgers-Cromartie is set to turn 27 years old before the start of the 2013 season, and he has had a disappointing stint in Philadelphia to say the least. The talent is there for DRC, but I don’t think he’s a guy the New England Patriots should sign in free agency.

The Philadelphia Inquirer has been writing that Rodgers-Cromartie will be looking for big money despite not having a good, recent track record, and that goes against what the Patriots will want. Reiss named DRC as a low-risk, value free agent, but it doesn’t sound like DRC holds low-risk or will be a good value. He’s not even one of the best five impending free agent corners, and I would rather take a flier on a solid, for-sure No. 2 starter in Chris Houston as a fallback option instead of the risky DRC.

Reiss wrote that he views Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie as “a solid fallback option if Talib gets too expensive”, but I would rather spend on Talib than DRC. Even though I wrote a lengthy piece yesterday warning fans not to overrated Aqib Talib and that it could be easy for the Patriots to overspend for him, I would rather give Talib, who is a little bit younger and is actually a safer buy, “big money” than Rodgers-Cromatie that sort of cash.

It’s fine that the Patriots are high on DRC, and I would be in favor of signing him as a “reclamation project” of sorts, because Talib was technically in that same boat. But I would only be in favor of that if his price tag comes cheap, and it doesn’t sound like it will. Almost nobody thinks the Eagles will keep Rodgers-Cromartie, and it’s easy to see why. He’s given up a QB Rating over 85 in his two seasons with the Eagles and is an undisciplined run defender. He has ability in coverage, but his poor play against the run makes him less valuable to a Patriots team that clearly likes having good run-stopping CBs (Talib, Kyle Arrington, and formerly Devin McCourty). That’s not my major qualm with DRC, however, because my problem with him is that he has never been consistent and isn’t worth overspending on a reclamation project.

If DRC is somehow able to get the big money that he’s asking for from another team, then the Patriots should just stay away from him. As Reiss implied with his “fallback option” note, I would rather keep our own (Talib) first than go after DRC. Houston and a few other CBs are also more appealing options than the risky Rodgers-Cromartie, but it’s interesting to hear that Reiss believes the Patriots would target DRC. This isn’t just speculation on his part, because Reiss is obviously as well-connected as anyone and also noted that he has “done some work” on this.

You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.