NFL: Grading the Most Meaningful Free Agent Signings

5 of 9

Denver Signs Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was expected to help make the Philadelphia Eagles the best team in the NFL when he was traded there in 2011. Instead, he struggled and the Eagles went 12-20 during his two years in Philadelphia.

Sep 30, Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (23) intercepts a pass in the end zone intended for New York Giants tight end Martellus Bennett (85) during the game at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Chris Faytok/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports

Rodgers-Cromartie intercepted three passes and deflected 14 passes in 2012, but he and the Eagles struggled mightily. Rodgers-Cromartie played lazily, and the result was failure. However, he was a Pro Bowler in 2009 and he’s only 26 years old.

The Broncos picked him up for just $5 million on a one-year deal, a huge steal for Denver. If Rodgers-Cromartie doesn’t pan out, they can let him walk and avoid a huge dent in the payroll. If he ends up helping the Broncos, they can re-sign him and get lots of production out of him.

In 2009 and during his tenure in Arizona, Rodgers-Cromartie was an outside corner, and he thrived. But when he was traded to the Eagles, he struggled as a slot corner in different packages with the Eagles, which led to him leaving Philadelphia.

However, Rodgers-Cromartie is a perfect fit in Denver. He will be opposite Champ Bailey and will be able to match up with taller receivers, because he is 6’2. Chris Harris will move to nickel back, so on 3-3-5 nickel packages, Denver can have two safeties, Bailey and Rodgers-Cromartie at cornerback and Harris at nickel back.

Being on a winning team should change Rodgers-Cromartie’s attitude and motivate him more, which can make him one of the best cornerbacks in the game. He has the raw talent, size and speed, and I expect being on Denver will change his attitude. If that happens, Denver’s secondary will be much better and they can lock up Rodgers-Cromartie long-term.

This move may not seem huge, but it will help the Denver secondary, which let down the Broncos in the playoffs. Denver got a huge steal here at a great price, as this move could be huge down the stretch for the Broncos.

Grade: A