The Arizona Cardinals own website had an interesting note about the status of their pro bowl free safety Antrel Rolle.
Antrel Rolle and the team have talked contract, but this close to Rolle’s magic date — he’s due that giant $4 million roster bonus next week — I expect him to be released into the open market. What that means is anyone’s guess. The Cardinals believe Rolle would like to come back, but again, it’s all relative when it comes to dollars.
As bizarre as it would be for a team to cut a 27 year old pro bowler, if this actually happens it seems like it would be a no brainer for the Eagles to make a run at Rolle.
The three guys who attempted to fill the hole at free safety left by Brian Dawkins' departure didn't exactly get the job done. Quintin Demps, who was the odds on favorite to take over the position, ended up losing it in training camp. He would go on to battle injuries and was inactive for most of the last part of the season. Macho Harris won the job coming out of training camp, despite the fact that he was a rookie fifth round pick who was a corner and never played safety in college. Harris had some bright moments, but eventually lack of experience and youth really started to show. Of course in addition to being a rookie 5th round pick learning a new position Harris was also asked to be the team's primary kick returner. It was always going to be a lot to ask of the kid. Then there was Sean Jones, who after signing as a free agent in the offseason, always appeared better suited to a strong safety role(if any role at all).
More after the jump.
Point is, the guys expected to replace Dawkins were hardly blue chips. If indeed Antrel Rolle comes available, he'd likely be by far the best free safety available to the Eagles this offseason. At #24 in the draft, the Eagles won't have a shot at a guy like Eric Berry and with the uncapped year changing free agency proven vets like Oshiomogho Atogwe will be restricted free agents.
For me, Rolle would be this year's Leonard Weaver. A good player, freely available, at a position of obvious need. Get it done, check safety off the list of needs and move on.
Of course, it's not that simple... With such an anemic free agent market looming, Rolle would certainly demand a huge payday. Probably a good bit bigger than he really deserves. But hey, there's no cap and you always have to overpay in free agency.
Here's a quick scouting report on Rolle.
A converted cornerback with exceptional cover skills. Has great range when playing safety. Can be effective in man or zone coverage. Has great hands and can run with the ball. A good enough tackler to play free safety.
Has some concentration lapses and will make errors in judgment at times. Can get flagged far too often.