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Jets Complete Overhaul, Add Cromartie And Gilchrist To Now-Loaded Secondary

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The band is getting back together in the New York Jets' secondary.

Cornerback Antonio Cromartie agreed to terms with the Jets on a four-year contract, worth $32 million in base salary, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press. The move Thursday comes a day after New York finalized a deal to bring Darrelle Revis back on a five-year, $70 million contract.

Cromartie's deal can have a maximum value of $35 million, according to the person who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the team had not announced the move.

Cromartie and Revis played together with the Jets from 2010-12, and Revis said during a conference call Wednesday night that he planned to reach out to his former teammate about reuniting in New York.

"I'm going to get in contact with him very soon here," Revis said, "and try to convince him to hopefully come back and join our Batman-and-Robin tandem we had a couple of years ago."

Well, the sequel's on: Batman and Robin: Part II.

Cromartie, who turns 31 in April, returns to the Jets after one season with Arizona, where he played for then-defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, who is now New York's coach. Cromartie's family traveled every week from their home in New Jersey for his games in Arizona, making the Jets even more attractive as the cornerback decided between them and the Cardinals.

The Jets brought back Cromartie after they made one of the biggest splashes of free agency by signing Revis. Cromartie made his fourth Pro Bowl last season, with three interceptions for the Cardinals while also impressing Bowles. He was a first-round pick by San Diego out of Florida State in 2006, and was traded to New York in 2010. The four-time Pro Bowl selection has 31 career interceptions and 102 passes defensed.

Cromartie, a favorite of former coach Rex Ryan because of his overall athleticism, was released by the Jets last March after four seasons in New York in a cost-cutting move by then-GM John Idzik. He was coming off a nagging hip ailment that affected him toward the end of the 2013 season, but showed he was healthy last year with a terrific year. The Jets also didn't aggressively pursue Revis last offseason, allowing him to sign with rival New England, where he helped the Patriots win the Super Bowl.

New York's shaky secondary ended up being a glaring weak spot during the Jets' 4-12 season, which cost both Ryan and Idzik their jobs. Darrin Walls, a career backup, and undrafted free agent Marcus Williams were pushed into starting roles, along with Phillip Adams and safety-turned-cornerback Antonio Allen after 2013 first-rounder Dee Milliner and Dexter McDougle, a third-rounder last year, were lost for the season with injuries, and veteran Dimitri Patterson, a free-agent signing, was cut after missing a preseason game without permission from the team.

Adams signed with Atlanta as a free agent, but Walls, Williams, Milliner and McDougle are all back — likely as backups — while Allen is expected to return to being a full-time safety. The Jets also signed former Steelers cornerback Curtis Brown in February.

Bowles, who likes to have a stable of cornerbacks in his aggressive, blitzing defense, has an instantly upgraded secondary with the signings of Revis, Cromartie and Buster Skrine, the former Browns cornerback who joined the Jets on a four-year, $25 million deal on Wednesday. New York kept the reconstruction going Thursday night, agreeing to terms with former Chargers safety Marcus Gilchrist on a four-year deal.

Antonio Cromartie, Marcus Gilchrist
Antonio Cromartie and Darrelle Revis (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images), Marcus Gilchrist (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

In the past two days, the Jets — who came into free agency more than $51 million under the salary cap — signed three cornerbacks to long-term deals for a combined $127 million.

"I told (former Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum) I'd do everything in my power to try to bring a championship to this organization, and I still feel that way," Revis said Wednesday. "That's something I want to be part of. The thing I want to bring to the organization is winning. That was one of the big reasons to come back home. I still have that mindset."

New York has been active since Tuesday, trading for wide receiver Brandon Marshall and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, cutting wide receiver Percy Harvin, signing guard James Carpenter and re-signing running back Bilal Powell. The Jets also re-signed guard Willie Colon to a one-year deal on Thursday, and brought back long snapper Tanner Purdum on a two-year contract.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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