Denver Broncos cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie came into free agency in 2013 as damaged goods, as he was coming off of one horrible and one uneven season during his two years with the Philadelphia Eagles. Throughout his career with the Arizona Cardinals and Eagles, DRC showed clear talent and could dominate at times, but he was also one of the most frustratingly inconsistent corners in the league and had a reputation for being burn-prone. The Broncos rolled the dice on him by signing him to a low-risk, one-year deal worth $5 million, and the Broncos excellent front office look like geniuses following the move.
Not only has DRC been the team’s No. 1 corner on the outside (Chris Harris Jr. is better, but he plays in the slot and not many players are nearly as good as Harris anyway), usurping veteran Champ Bailey, who struggled through the regular season with various ailments, in that role. Rodgers-Cromartie has resurrected his career Denver, becoming easily one of the most important players on a team that is a step away from winning it all this year. And with Harris and Von Miller injured with ACL tears, the argument can be made that DRC is the most important player on defense (DT Terrance Knighton is also in that discussion). The Broncos have suffered numerous injuries on defense that have tested their depth and talent greatly, so DRC’s terrific play has been a key constant. When he went down against the New England Patriots in the regular season, the wheels came off of the Broncos pass defense.
Peyton Manning and Wes Welker were asked if they would retire if the Broncos win the Super Bowl, and both said “no” (Welker’s response was far less surprising than Manning’s, though neither player was expected to retire). Interestingly enough, a much younger Broncos star in the 27-year-old Rodgers-Cromartie seems to be contemplating retirement.
According to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, DRC stated that he might retire if the Broncos win it all this year, and he added that he sought to play in this league for five years and has surpassed that goal by playing for six.
Five years? That’s an extremely low bar, especially for someone who came into the league with his talent. DRC has finally gotten his career back on track and is set to make a huge amount of money in the offseason after his incredible 2013 campaign for the AFC champs on a one-year deal. It would be crazy and shocking for him to walk away now after just six years, and it’s shocking enough that he’s even contemplating retirement at all.