As the Cro flies: Cards nest big-time cover corner

The Arizona Cardinals sent a message to opposing offensive coordinators and wide receivers Thursday morning: pick your poison.

The club announced they agreed to a one-year deal with talented cornerback Antonio Cromartie who comes to Arizona less than two weeks after being released by the New York Jets. The three-time Pro-Bowler was introduced to the Phoenix media Thursday afternoon.

“I’m grateful and blessed for the opportunity…with the Arizona Cardinals,” the 29-year-old said. “I feel great.”

A former first-round pick of the San Diego Chargers, “Cro” is expected to start opposite fellow Pro-Bowler Patrick Peterson giving the Red Birds two big, fast, physical corners. Getting bigger, stronger and quicker in the secondary was a high priority this off-season for the Red Birds front-office and coaching staff.

“The thing that is appealing is his ability to play press man [coverage],” general manager Steve Keim said on a conference call. “[To] not only add length but speed and athleticism is a huge asset for us moving forward.”

Cromartie’s work ethic also impressed Keim.

“He works on his craft not only on the field but in the classroom,” he explained. “After watching the tape I felt very confident…he is a really good fit for us.”

Keim believes the trio of Cromartie, Peterson and second-year safety Tyrann Mathieu gives Arizona “ballhawks who have the ability to make big plays.”

Cromartie believes the best days are still ahead for a team coming off a surprising ten-win season.

“You see what’s going on here,” he explained. “The excitement that’s going around. You want to be a part of it.”