The Bears are releasing veteran safety Antrel Rolle, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). As a vested veteran, Rolle won’t need to pass through waivers, meaning he’ll become a free agent immediately.
Chicago spent three picks on defensive backs on Day 3 of the draft, picking up Miami’s Deon Bush, Northern Iowa’s Deiondre Hall, and William and Mary’s DeAndre Houston, which could have been an indication that Rolle’s roster spot was in danger. Additionally, there is no guaranteed money left on Rolle’s contract, which makes releasing him more palatable from a financial perspective. The Bears will save more than $2.7MM on their salary cap in 2016, and $3.25MM in 2017.
Rolle, now 33 years old, ends up spending just one season with the Bears after agreeing to a three-year deal worth more than $11MM prior to the 2015 season. The veteran defensive back played in only seven games, having injured his knee in a November practice. Rolle stayed on the active roster until mid-December, when he was placed on injured reserve.
An 11-year NFL veteran who has earned three Pro Bowl nods during his time with the Cardinals and Giants, Rolle was an average player in 2015, grading out as the No. 39 safety in the league among 89 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus. While he didn’t post any interceptions during his seven contests with Chicago, Rolle did register 30 tackles while defensing one pass.
“I appreciate the Chicago Bears and the organization for the opportunity,” said Rolle (Twitter link). “Blessed as always. Looking forward to what is next!”