Today in his weekly chat on ESPN.com, Patriots beat writer Mike Reiss stated he believes Eagles corner-back Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is he would be at the "top of the list" for Patriot's off-season free agent targets. Here is the Q & A from the chat:

Q: Mike, put yourself in Bill's shoes - forget the big names, which low risk, good value free agents would you pursue?

A: Jim, I'm probably a little less informed on the free agency at this time as I've been deep into the draft the last two weeks. But I've done some work there and here's one name that I put at the top of the list: Eagles CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

Shortly after, Reiss stated that the Patriots have "always thought highly" of Rodgers-Cromartie, and that while he may be past his prime, he could serve as a solid replacement should Aqib Talib not be back. DRC's name surfaced as a potential trade-deadline target for the Pats when they ended up signing Talib.

In an article written on the Philadelphia Inquirer's Eagles blog yesterday, writer Zach Berman lists a number of reasons why Rodgers-Cromartie (and Nnamdi Asomugha) could likely have played their final game as Eagles, due to their pricetags and underwhelming performance. Here, he summarizes why DRC in particular is unlikely to return:

"Rodgers-Cromartie is an unrestricted free agent. In order to keep him, the Eagles will need to pay big money. Despite Rodgers-Cromartie’s shortcomings, he’s big, fast, has ball skills and will be 27 next season. There’s more demand than supply for players with that profile. The Eagles could also place the franchise tag on him, which will keep him for more than $10 million. That won’t require a long-term commitment, but it’s a significant salary commitment."

Berman goes on to assert that the young talent the Eagles have at the corner position in Brandon Boykin and Curtis Marsh is yet another reason why they may choose not to pay big money here on DRC and/or Nnamdi. All in all, it seems like there are a laundry list of reasons why Dominique will hit the open market.

If that does in fact happen, it will be interesting to see if the Patriots pursue him, and if so, how much they are willing to pay.Two major factors that will undoubtedly influence the decision is what ends up happening with Talib, and the outcome of Alfonzo Dennard's trial. Coincidentally, in the aforementioned Philadelphia Inquirer article, the writer states that Talib could be a potential replacement for DRC in Philly. Could a corner swap really be in the works here?

Evaluating Rodgers-Cromartie as a player, his immense talent is irrefutable. Despite playing at Tennessee State University collegiality, his athleticism and skill set were impressive enough for the Cardinals to take him with the 16th pick in the 2008 draft. Taking a look at his career statistics below (via NFL.com), it's clear he was significantly more productive during his years as a Cardinal. After coming to Philly in a trade with Kevin Kolb, his numbers have not been as great.

G GS Comb Tkl Total Tkl Sck PDef Int TDs FF
2012 Philadelphia Eagles 16 16 51 43 0 17 3 0 0
2011 Philadelphia Eagles 13 3 28 26 1 6 -- -- 0
2010 Arizona Cardinals 16 16 44 42 0 17 3 2 0
2009 Arizona Cardinals 16 16 50 48 0 25 6 1 3
2008 Arizona Cardinals 16 11 42 38 0 19 4 1 0


215 197 1 84 16 4 3

So there is the question of whether the performance drop-off is a result of diminishing talent, or just a great player stuck in a bad situation. This assessment, his price tag, and the events that unfold in the coming weeks will ultimately determine whether or not Rodgers-Cromartie could realistically become a Patriot.

So let's see where PatsLife nation stands on Dominique. Would he be a good fit in New England? Cast your vote below.


Liam Cunningham 2/14/2013 07:29:00 PM Edit

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