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Antonio Cromartie sees Jets' secondary as force

Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie warms up before the

Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie warms up before the game against the New Orleans Saints on Nov. 3, 2013. Credit: Lee S. Weissman

Beware, NFL quarterbacks. The Jets' revamped secondary is now a no-fly zone.

Shortly after officially signing his contract Wednesday, Antonio Cromartie told the team's website that the additions of himself, All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis and versatile slot corner Buster Skrine ensure the Jets' defense will be a formidable force this season.

"You look at that trio there, it's just like looking at this three-headed monster,'' Cromartie said.

Although he later downplayed the expectations for the unit during a conference call, Cromartie said the Jets' secondary has some standout pieces. Now, they all just have to learn to play together.

"When you start adding in and mixing in guys who can make plays on the ball, it just looks at the potential of how things can be,'' Cromartie said. "At the same time, we all have to learn to jell and play off each other as well.''

The Jets also announced the signing of safety Marcus Gilchrist to a four-year, $22-million deal after four seasons with the Chargers. With all of the recent upgrades to the secondary -- totaling $149 million -- Skrine has high hopes for the unit.

"We have the potential of being great,'' Skrine said on a conference call. "I think it's going to be definitely a bright spot on the team.''

After four years in Cleveland, Skrine (pronounced "screen'') said he is anxious to play for Todd Bowles, a defensive mind known best for his man-cover schemes. But the former Brown also made it clear he can play anywhere on the field -- outside or even at safety.

"I've been versatile my whole career,'' said Skrine, who signed a four-year, $25-million contract.

Cromartie, 30, is looking to shed his injury-prone label. He was slowed by a nagging hip injury in 2013, his last of four seasons with the Jets. But this past year in Arizona, he played all 16 games, recorded three interceptions and 49 tackles and made his fourth Pro Bowl.

"It's behind me,'' he said of his hip injury, which he called a "real bad'' strained hip flexor.

Cromartie said he considered returning to the Cardinals or signing with the Cowboys this offseason. But in the end, he agreed to sign a four-year, $32-million contract to reunite with the Jets, a source told Newsday last week.

"My biggest thing was going into the 2014 season and showing I can still play at a very, very, very high level,'' he said.

Revis and Cromartie teamed up from 2010-12, before Revis suffered a season-ending ACL injury against the Dolphins in Week 3 of the 2012 season. Together, they totaled 13 interceptions in 34 games.

Cromartie said he didn't think he'd end up back with the Jets once the team committed five years and $70 million (including $39 million guaranteed) to Revis.

"It's hard to believe,'' Cromartie said.

Notes & quotes: The Jets announced that OL James Brewer, a former Giant, and LB Jamari Lattimore visited the team Wednesday . . . Speedy WR Denarius Moore is scheduled to visit Thursday. He caught 17 touchdown passes in four seasons with the Raiders.

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