Convincing Antonio Cromartie to stay in Arizona tough for Patrick Peterson

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Arizona may have the sunshine and the warm weather but it doesn't have the bright lights of New York City.

And Patrick Peterson may learn that the hard way.

Peterson has been recruiting fellow cornerback and Pro Bowler Antonio Cromartie back to the desert for next season and beyond, but it may not be a fight he can win.

"I'm definitely trying to keep him here," Peterson said. "It's going to be tough, especially with [former Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator] Todd [Bowles] being in New York and he loves [New York].

"That's all he talks about is freaking New York. I'm definitely trying to get him to stay and we'll see what happens."

Peterson has about a month before free agency begins on March 10 to convince Cromartie that re-signing with Arizona is a better prospect than bolting to the Jets or another team who may offer him more money.

Cromartie signed a one-year contract worth $3.5 million in 2014.

Returning to the Jets, for whom he played from 2010-2013, and the New York area, where he has a house, is enticing to the 30-year-old Cromartie, who'll turn 31 on April 15.

"It's attractive," he said. "My house is there, so it's attractive. But if that doesn't happen, it doesn't happen.

"At the end of the day, I got to make sure that my options are open and making sure that whatever decision I make, that it's related to my family and making sure we're making the right decision not only for me but also for them. It not only affects me, it affects them also with changing schools and for my kids and everything."

But Cromartie has been steadfast this offseason in his commitment to not worrying about his playing future -- or at least, that's what his talking points have relayed.

"Like I've always said, that's not really my concern," he said. "I let my play this past season speak for itself. If I'm valued to be here, then I'm valued to be here. If I'm not, I can go elsewhere. My biggest things is focusing on my family this offseason and going on from there.

"When the time comes about [to] start talking about contracts, that time will come about. Right now, I'm not even worried about it."

He was tied with 17 other defensive players for 10th in the NFL with four interceptions. Coming off a hip pointer injury in 2013 with the Jets, Cromartie had one of his best statistical seasons since 2008. It was capped by his fourth Pro Bowl appearance and third straight.

Cromartie wasn't sure if becoming an NFL all-star would help his stock when free agency begins, but he's aware of what the major questions surrounding him come early March will be.

"The biggest thing everybody is worried about is I'm turning 31 this offseason," Cromartie said. "I'm actually playing better than 22 year olds, 23 year olds, so it doesn't matter for me."

Signing a one-year deal wasn't about proving himself, Cromartie said.

It helped, however, that he put a relatively healthy season on tape while playing on a playoff-caliber team. But he thinks coaching staffs around the league already know what he's capable of when injuries aren't an issue.

The question then becomes will they pay Cromartie what he feels he's worth.

"Everybody else knows what I can do when I'm healthy," he said. "That's what it's really all about. I think it was just the point of getting back healthy and going back out and playing at a high level.

"That's something that I figure I did this season. Not worried about anything else but that."