Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 2/19/13
Houston-texans-new-york
Editor’s Note: NESN.com will evaluate and analyze one potential Patriots free agent addition everyday from Feb. 18 through the start of NFL free agency on March 12. The Patriots’ secondary didn’t exactly perform up to par in 2012, even after the midseason addition of cornerback Aqib Talib. Now, as the offseason gets underway, their biggest need will be to address their deficiencies against the pass. With Talib’s return still uncertain and Kyle Arrington‘s also very much up in the air, the Patriots could be big spenders at cornerback this offseason. Fortunately, there is an extensive list of free agents that would fit right into Bill Belichick‘s defensive system. There is no specific frontrunner in the free-agent cornerback pool, but the most talented player in the group might be Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Cromartie has ideal size at the corner position at just over 6-foot-1, which is a trait the Patriots covet. He is also one of the fastest corners in football, running a 4.33 40-yard dash at the NFL combine back in 2008. That combination of size and speed saw Cromartie race up draft boards so quickly that the Arizona Cardinals took him at No. 16 that year. He’s been able to harness his physical tools for stretches during his five-year career, but he’s never been able to do it consistently. Cromartie’s three seasons in Arizona were certainly his best as a pro. He combined for 13 interceptions, averaged better than 20 passes defensed and scored four defensive touchdowns over those three seasons. He was even selected to his first and only Pro Bowl while with the Cardinals in 2009. Cromartie’s time in Philadelphia didn’t go quite as well. In two seasons with the Eagles, Cromartie missed games (three in 2011) for the first time in his career, intercepted just three total passes, averaged about 11 passes defensed and didn’t score single touchdown. It was as if suddenly all the play-making ability was just sucked right out of him, either that or he just didn’t fit into the defensive scheme — Nnamdi Asomugha might confirm this theory. DRC isn’t quite as established as his cousin Antonio Cromartie, but the younger Cro’ — still just 26 — has the ability to become just as dominant on the outside, which is why the Patriots might be interested. After a few down seasons, Rodgers-Cromartie should come at a relative discount — likely even more so than Talib — this offseason, which should entice the Patriots even further. Getting a markdown value on supreme talent is right in Belichick’s wheelhouse and may stimulate some conversation, even if the Patriots end up going in a different direction. The Patriots’ primary option at corner likely remains Talib, as he’s both somewhat established in New England and maybe the best player for the system, but Rodgers-Cromartie would be a good reserve option if Talib’s price tag gets too high. There is a lot to like about Cromartie, and with the right players and environment around him in New England, he could really flourish into the premier talent he once was. Check out another player the Patriots may have their eyes on. Have a question for Luke Hughes? Send it to him via Twitter at @LukeFHughes or send it here.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Pierre-Paul could face charges for possession of fireworks

Report: Warriors trade David Lee to Celtics for Gerald Wallace

Rivers believes Gates' PED use was unintentional

Favre felt 'bothered' by Green Bay's decision to trade him

Ned Yost explains Alex Rodriguez’s All-Star Game snub

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Donovan McNabb arrested for DUI after rear-ending car

It is progress time for the Philadelphia 76ers

Andrew Luck talks Super Bowl hopes and Patriots

Rapper rips David West for taking pay cut to join Spurs

Report: Kevin Garnett will return for 21st NBA season

Packers plan to keep TE Andrew Quarless despite arrest

Tigers should accept reality and become trade deadline sellers

Roy Halladay snaps selfie while getting a speeding ticket

National Basketball Players Association to set up heath insurance for retirees

'Corrected' 2015 MLB All-Star Game picks

NHL expansion process begins, application cutoff set for Aug. 10

Cardinals send rookies to Starbucks to pick up order

Mark Cuban fined for discussing Matthews and Jordan deals

Baseball's most productive low-authority hitters of all-time

USWNT's World Cup triumph four years in the making

Cubs announcer defends saying 'no-hitter' during game

MLB scout hiring and pay practices challenged in lawsuit

MLB's 2015 All-Star snubs

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Tigers should become trade deadline sellers

JPP could face criminal charges?

'Corrected' 2015 MLB All-Star Game picks

MLB's 2015 All-Star snubs

Gronk, David Ortiz in latest Dunkin Donuts iced coffee video

The 2015 All-Star reserves & pitchers

Are LeBron, Cavs just playing teenage games?

Bucks threatens move to Vegas, Seattle

Bryce Harper to skip Home Run Derby

Video shows De'Andre Johnson punching woman

Odell Beckham Jr. poses for nude version of 'The Catch'

Report: Giants pull offer to Pierre-Paul

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.