When Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie couldn't reach a deal with the Denver Broncos last week, he said he was extremely disappointed.
The six-year NFL pro had done everything the team had asked and was the premier cornerback for the Broncos, helping them reach the Super Bowl.
Less than a week later, the deal that was never consummated turn out to be the best thing for the Lakewood Ranch product.
He signed a five-year deal with the New York Giants on Monday that with incentives that could earn him $39 million. Most importantly, $15 million is guaranteed.
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The only guaranteed money the Broncos offered DRC was a $5 million signing bonus that would've earned him about $10 million in 2014. After the season, he would have had to make the team all over again.
Denver then signed cornerback Aqib Talib, saying it needed more physical players after the Broncos were trounced 43-8 by the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl.
The contract was among multiple reasons DRC signed with the Giants instead of the New York Jets, who were also bidding for his services. He liked the Giants structure under head coach Tom Coughlin, looks forward to reuniting with former teammate (safety) Antrel Rolle and is familiar with the NFC East, where he played two years when he was with the Philadelphia Eagles.
"I decided to come here be
cause I like where the team is headed and the pieces they brought in," Rodgers-Cromartie said. "Antrel is a guy who took me under his wing when I first came into the league (with Arizona) and it's exciting to be reunited with him. He was public lobbying for me, and I appreciated that."
DRC should join a secondary that is arguably better than what he played with last year. He is expected to start at cornerback opposite Prince Amukamara. Over the weekend the Giants also signed former Seattle Seahawk Walter Thurmond, who is expected to fill the slot cornerback role.
"Antrel told me coach Coughlin has a lot of structure and you are going to be accountable, which I like. When a system is tough it brings the best out of you," DRC said. "He told me the things he learned when he got here and this is a great city that wanted to be on board."
Rodgers-Cromartie had a standout season last year following two years in Philadelphia. He attributes it to old-fashioned hard work.
Pro Football Focus had DRC as the fifth-highest rated cornerback in the league last season.
He ranked second in the NFL with a 44.1 percent catch allowed rate (30 completions in 68 targets), which measures percentage of passes completed in his coverage area.
DRC was third in coverage snaps per reception with 15.7 trailing only Darrelle Revis and Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman.
Rodgers-Cromartie likes the idea that he is already familiar with a lot of the top receivers in the NFC East, including the guys he played with in Philadelphia: DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin and others like Dallas' Dez Bryant and Washington's Pierre Garcon.
"Those are all real good players, but after talking with the defensive coaches here and learning the system a little bit, I think I can do well with the assets I have and the good group they already have here," Rodgers-Cromartie said. "I am more comfortable in man, but I can do both. Mainly I am a competitor. I like lining up against guys and just going one on one and react to the ball well. At the end of the day I just line up and play."
At the end of the day, DRC got more guaranteed money than Talib, who is guaranteed $11.5 million.
With little salary cap space, the Giants got Mathias Kiwanuka to take a pay cut of close to $3 million to make room for DRC. Reports said the linebacker was told to take the pay cut or likely be released.