New York Jets release cornerback Antonio Cromartie

New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie has been released. (REUTERS)

New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie has been released. (REUTERS)

THE SPORTS XCHANGE

, Last Updated: 4:49 PM ET

The New York Jets announced Sunday they released cornerback Antonio Cromartie.

The move is not shocking, considering he is due a $5 million roster bonus later this week. It saves the Jets $9.5 million in salary cap space.

Cromartie turns 30 on April 15 and was heading into the final season of a four-year, $32 million contract.

"Cro is one of the finest athletes I've ever coached," coach Rex Ryan said in a statement. "He was willing to contribute wherever the team needed him to win games, be it defense, special teams or offense. He has a passion and enthusiasm for the game and I wish him and his family the best."

Earlier, Cromartie announced via Twitter the team released him.

"I would like 2 thank the Jets organization so much with helpin me grow as leader and a player. S/O 2 my teammates I wish u guys the best," Cromartie wrote.

In another tweet, he wrote: "I would also like to give a big up to The Jets Fan base. Thank you for all the support thru my 4 yr career with you. Thank you again."

A league source told ESPN the Jets are interested in re-signing Cromartie for a cheaper rate but will explore the free agent market.

The Jets reportedly contacted Tennessee Titans cornerback Alterraun Verner. Teams were allowed to contact pending free agents as of Saturday.

Cromartie said after the season he expected the team to let him go for salary-cap reasons.

Cromartie made the Pro Bowl as an alternate last season but was bothered by a hip injury throughout the year.

Cromartie was acquired by the Jets in 2010 in a trade with the San Diego Chargers. In four seasons with the Jets, Cromartie had 164 tackles and 55 pass breakups, and his 13 interceptions were tied for the most in the AFC in that span. He was a first-round draft choice of the Chargers in 2006.

Over his eight-year career, Cromartie has 316 tackles, 28 interceptions and 97 pass breakups while scoring four defensive touchdowns.


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