Antrel Rolle

Antrel Rolle Retires From NFL

Antrel Rolle has officially announced his retirement from the NFL. In an appearance on NFL Network’s Good Morning Football (Twitter link), the veteran said that he has moved on from football. Antrel Rolle (Vertical)

I’m at total peace with that,” Rolle said of his decision to retire. “Going out, you’re 33 years old and you go on injured reserve last year. That’s going to scare a lot of teams away. I understand how the business works and I’m fine with that either way.”

In the late spring, PFR ranked Rolle as the seventh-best defensive free agent still on the board, ahead of other notable defensive backs such as Antonio Cromartie, Cortland Finnegan, and Will Allen. However, his market never really developed. Rolle expressed an interest in reuniting to the Giants and the Dolphins were reportedly keeping Rolle’s number handy in case Reshad Jones made good on his holdout threats. Ultimately, there was no deal made in New York, Miami, or anywhere else.

An 11-year NFL veteran who 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.

All in all, Rolle enjoyed a long and successful career and that he can look back on fondly. During his announcement today, he indicated that he would like to serve as a TV analyst now that his playing days are over.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Antrel Rolle Garnering Free Agent Interest

Free agent safety Antrel Rolle says a few teams have reached out to him since he hit the open market last month, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (Twitter link). While Rolle didn’t divulge the exact identity of those clubs, he did tell Fowler that he’s waiting for the “right situation” before signing a deal.Antrel Rolle (Vertical)

In May, PFR ranked Rolle as the seventh-best defensive free agent still on the board, ahead of other defensive backs such as Antonio Cromartie, Cortland Finnegan, and Will Allen. Rolle has expressed an interest in reuniting with the Giants, but it’s not clear if that interest is being reciprocated at this stage of the offseason. The Dolphins are also keeping Rolle’s number handy in the event that they have an injury at safety or Reshad Jones returns to holding out.

Rolle, now 33 years old, ended 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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins Notes: Rolle, Tunsil, Tannehill, Gase

The Dolphins continue to have free agents Antrel Rolle and Louis Delmas on a list of safety options should they have an injury at the position or if Reshad Jones should reverse course and holdout during the season, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald writes. Rolle, 33, is listed as PFR’s eighth-best defensive free agent still on the market. Delmas, meanwhile, has familiarity on his side as he has been with Miami for each of the past two seasons.

If Jones surprises everyone and has a change of heart after reporting to minicamp earlier this month, he still might not have much in the way of leverage. Even a person close to Jones conceded to Jackson that Miami doesn’t have any incentive to re-do the current deal, which pays Jones $7.2MM and $7.1MM over the next two seasons.

Here’s more from the AFC East:

  • Rookie Laremy Tunsil is not guaranteed a starting spot on the Dolphins’ offensive line, as Andrew Abramson of the Palm Beach Post writes. However, it would be a stunner if Dallas Thomas, Pro Football Focus’ worst-rated NFL guard last year, manages to beat him out. Meanwhile, Tunsil says that the adjustment from guard to tackle hasn’t been a difficult one. Coach Adam Gase agrees, noting that the transition isn’t a tough one since he is staying on the same side of the line. “When you put a guy on the left side, he’s playing the two positions that really they’re making the calls together whether it be in the run game or the pass game,” Gase said. “So it’s not like he’s learning something completely different.”
  • Can the offensive-minded Gase succeed in the defense-heavy AFC East? The new Dolphins coach will have to get Ryan Tannehill to elevate his play by a good margin in order to succeed, Mike Rodak of ESPN.com writes. Since his rookie year in 2012, Tannehill has gone 8-16 against AFC East foes with 30 touchdown passes against 25 interceptions and 75 sacks, all adding up to a dismal 35.5 Total QBR.
  • Defensive end Dion Jordan says that he’s drug-free as he seeks reinstatement, but Albert Breer of The MMQB hears that they should be worried about more than Jordan’s off-field issues.

Latest on Reshad Jones, Dolphins

If Reshad Jones were to make good on his threat to hold out for the entire 2016 season, the Dolphins would of course be worse off for it. But just how realistic is Jones’ threat? According to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald, not very.

Jackson himself said it would be surprising if Jones were to extend his contract protest into the season, but Jackson adds that even a source close to Jones concedes that Miami has no incentive to re-do a deal that pays the Georgia product $7.2MM and $7.1MM over the next two seasons. That contract makes him the highest-paid strong safety in the NFL, but does not place him among the five highest-paid safeties overall.

Reshad Jones (vertical)

If the worst-case scenario comes to fruition and Jones does not report to the team, Jackson says that free agents Antrel Rolle and Louis Delmas are on the Dolphins’ list of contingency plans. Neither option, however, is exactly ideal. Delmas, of course, has been with Miami for each of the past two seasons, and in 2014 he started 12 games for the Fins, racking up 60 tackles and an interception (which he returned for a touchdown), and ranking as a league-average safety per Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics. But he tore his right ACL towards the end of the 2014 campaign, and he tore that same ACL during practice last August, thereby ending his 2015 season before it even began. Delmas has always shown high-level talent, but his inability to stay healthy throughout his career and the severity of his most recent injuries have left the 29-year-old unemployed for the time being.

Rolle, meanwhile, spent the 2015 season with the Bears after spending the first five years of his career with the Cardinals and the next five with the Giants. Per PFF, he graded out as the 39th-best safety in the league last season (out of 89 qualifiers), and the biggest knock against him at this point is his age. He is now 33, and he played in only seven games last season after suffering a knee injury during a November practice. He has had a long and productive career, however, and the rangy safety–whom our Dallas Robinson lists as the eighth-best defensive free agent still on the market–could be a nice fit in Miami.

Needless to say, though, the Dolphins would rather have Jones, who set new career-highs in tackles (135), passes defended (10), and interceptions (five), last season. PFF ranked Jones as the 13th-best safety in the NFL in 2015, and of the 89 qualified safeties, only two received higher grades as run defenders than Jones did. As of right now, it seems that Jones will report to the club rather than hold out, but the Dolphins do have a Plan B just in case.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

Best Available NFL Free Agents: Defense

The most high-profile free agent signings occurred more than two months ago, but as we near June there are still talented NFL free agents available on the open market. Most of these players (with a few exceptions) won’t command much guaranteed money, and given that we’ve passed the May 12 deadline, none will factor into the compensatory draft pick formula. After examining the offensive side of the ball yesterday, let’s take a look at the defensive players who will try to find a home as training camp approaches…Donte Whitner (Veritcal)

1. Donte Whitner, S: Despite being released by the Browns last month, Whitner is still an excellent player, having graded as the league’s No. 24 safety among 89 qualifiers in 2015, per Pro Football Focus. Remarkably durable (he’s missed only three games in the past six years), Whitner visited with the Rams in early April, and is reportedly still on Los Angeles’ radar. Elsewhere, both the Chargers and the Cowboys could make sense as potential landing spots if San Diego and Dallas want to upgrade on Jahleel Addae and Barry Church, respectively.

2. Leon Hall, CB: Hall hasn’t lacked suitors this offseason, as the Cowboys, Cardinals, Giants, and Falcons have all shown varying levels of interest in the 31-year-old cornerback over the past several months. He’s not the boundary defender that he used to be, but Hall is a productive slot corner, which essentially makes him a starter in today’s NFL. Health questions have nagged Hall throughout his entire career, and an offseason back procedure won’t quiet those concerns, but the former Bengal figures to find a new home sooner rather than later.

3. Greg Hardy, DE: Clearly the best defender on this list in terms of pure talent, Hardy’s off-the-field issues don’t need to be rehashed here. The 27-year-old edge rusher and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, are apparently lobbying NFL clubs for an opportunity, detailing the steps Hardy has taken to correct his pattern of behavior. However, it doesn’t appear as though many teams are convinced Hardy has changed his tune, as sources told Ed Werder of ESPN.com that no one is interested in Hardy, with executives calling him — at best — a “hard sell” to ownership and — at worst — “toxic.”
Dwight Freeney (Vertical)

4. Dwight Freeney, LB/DE: Freeney spent roughly a third of the 2015 season at home, waiting until the Cardinals called in October to get back on an NFL field. Now 36 years old, Freeney has become something of a cause célèbre of mine, as I think he’s a far more valuable player than the league apparently does. I outlined Freeney’s tools in April of last year, and much of what I wrote at the time still holds — any number of clubs could benefit from allowing Freeney to get after the quarterback 20-25 times per game. A reunion with Arizona isn’t out of the question, and the Ravens, Bengals, Panthers, Jets, Patriots, Lions, Chiefs, and Bills could all use an extra edge rusher.

5. Brandon Boykin, CB: At age 25, Boykin surprisingly had to settle for a minimum salary benefit contract to join the Panthers in March — he lasted less than two months on the roster, as he was released by Carolina earlier this week. That series of events, coupled with Boykin’s relative lack of playing time after being dealt to the Steelers last year, is hard to figure, as Boykin is considered one of the premier slot corners in the game. With teams lining up in sub packages more than 60% of the time, Boykin is capable of playing a substantial role, and shouldn’t stay on the street for long.

6. Mike Neal, LB: Neal started a career-high 15 games last season, and has posted at least four sacks in each of the past four years. He’s met with both the Lions and the Seahawks this offseason, but has yet to sign a contract, and would seemingly only be in line for a one-year pact at this point. The Packers selected fellow linebacker Kyler Fackrell in the third round of last month’s draft, so Green Bay probably isn’t an option (though Neal is open to returning). It’s possible that the 2015 Al Jazeera report that linked Neal to PEDs is hindering his market, a sentiment with which Neal agrees.Chris Culliver (Vertical)

7. Chris Culliver, CB: It’s been a trying 12 months or so for Culliver, whose 2015 one-game suspension voided his 2016 $8MM guarantee, making it much easier for Washington to release him — which they did earlier this month. Culliver, 27, also tore his ACL in November, meaning his availability for the start of the season could be in doubt. But Culliver is the one true outside cornerback on this list, and he has also has youth on his side. A smart team might sign Culliver to a two-year deal with limited or no guarantees for the 2017 season, let him rehab for the first half of 2016, and then evaluate him over the course of November and December.

8. Antrel Rolle, S: Rolle isn’t going to get the same kind of offers that fellow safety Whitner will — not only is he more than three years older, but Rolle ranked a little lower among safeties than did Whitner, coming in at No. 39 in the NFL according to PFF. Rolle has expressed an interest in reuniting with the Giants, with whom he spent the 2010-14 seasons, and on paper, it’s a match that makes a lot of sense, as New York needs a rangy free safety opposite Landon Collins. The Rams, Falcons, and Buccaneers could have interest in the veteran defensive back, as could the Colts if they plan to move 2016 second-rounder T.J. Green to cornerback, as has been rumored.

9. O’Brien Schofield, LB: Schofield and the Falcons were said to be working on a deal as far back as early March, but no signing ever came to fruition. At the time, the Cowboys, Bears, and Titans were reported to have interest in Schofield, and while he’s expressed his preference to return to Atlanta, he remains a free agent. Head coach Dan Quinn has stated he hopes that Schofield is re-signed, and the Falcons have in fact made an offer. Primarily a nickel linebacker, Schofield agreed to a two-year deal with the Giants in 2014 only to see it fall apart due to medical concerns — it’s unclear whether his current disagreement with Atlanta is due to injury questions or financial disparities.

10. Jeremy Mincey, DE: At 32 years old, Mincey isn’t going to suddenly blossom into a star, but he’s more than capable of being thrown into a defensive end rotation on a team that runs a 4-3 scheme. Mincey didn’t post any sacks last season, but he registered six quarterback takedowns in 2014, which led to him holding out for an extra $500K the following offseason. The Cowboys reportedly aren’t interested in a reunion, but Mincey did generate some level of trade interest last November, so it’s likely that there are clubs who’d be willing to offer a one-year deal.

Honorable mention: Chris Canty, DL; Henry Melton, DT; Kevin Williams, DT; Cortez Allen, CB; Antonio Cromartie, CB; Cortland Finnegan, CB; Jayron Hosley, CB; Will Allen, S.

Safety Walter Thurmond was not included on this list because he’s contemplating retirement and has reportedly turned down offers of $4MM per year.

Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

East Rumors: Rolle, Tunsil, Jets, Cousins

Safety Antrel Rolle is on the open market and he tells SiriusXM (audio link) that he would like to return to the Giants.

I’ve never hidden it. New York is where the heart is. New York is where I feel comfortable,” Rolle said (transcript via PFT). “New York is a place where I would love to play. You know, there’s a difference playing for an organization, you know, you’re there to play and to win, and you’re there because that’s where your contract is. And there’s a difference in playing where your heart is. I would absolutely be open to the situation if it presents itself. Obviously it would have to make sense for both [sides]. The New York Giants, I think it would definitely make sense for both myself and the team. But let’s see what happens.”

The Giants added third-round pick Darian Thompson to the safety mix, but there is no slam-dunk starter at the free safety position. Still, as Jordan Raanan of NJ.com writes, a reunion between Rolle and Big Blue seems unlikely.

Here’s more from around the NFL’s East divisions:

  • Despite the gas-mask/bong video that surfaced on draft night, Dolphins first-round choice Laremy Tunsil will avoid entering Stage 1 of the NFL’s substance-abuse program, a source tells James Walker of ESPN.com.
  • While many speculated that Tunsil’s stepfather was behind the shocking draft day leak, Tunsil’s attorney, Steve Farese, says that’s not the case. “Initially, that would be the low-hanging fruit,” Farese said on SiriusXM (audio link; transcription via PFT). “Now I’ve drifted away from those thoughts and don’t believe he had anything to do with it.” The Dolphins believe Tunsil’s former financial advisor was responsible for the leak, according to a source who spoke with Andrew Abramson of the Palm Beach Post (on Twitter).
  • Jets GM Mike Maccagnan “all but confirmed” that he explored trading up for Tunsil last Thursday, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. Per Cimini, Maccagnan also didn’t rule out the possibility of keeping cornerback Dee Milliner on the roster beyond 2016 if he plays well this year, even after turning down his 2017 option today.
  • Before the Titans shipped the No. 1 overall pick to the Rams, the Jets inquired about trading up for the No. 1 pick in order to draft Jared Goff, according to Manish Mehta of the Daily News (on Twitter). It was previously reported that the Jets explored trading up to the top two, but it wasn’t clear which QB they were targeting.
  • Kirk Cousins believes “there’s a chance” that a long-term deal could be hammered out with Washington between now and the July 15th deadline, but he tells 106.7 The Fan that he’s also comfortable with playing the year out. “If they feel like they have enough information and want to make that call right now, then great,” Cousins said. “But I think the ball’s in their court and I will react accordingly to whatever decision they make… I am totally comfortable playing more football, and frankly if I don’t play well next season, I don’t deserve to be back. I don’t deserve a long-term deal. So I want to go out and earn it, and prove myself, and if I need to prove myself again, that’s fine. I’ll go see if I can do that.”

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Bears To Release Antrel Rolle

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.Antrel Rolle (Featured)

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!”

Bears Place Antrel Rolle On IR, Activate Tayo Fabuluje

The Bears placed Antrel Rolle on injured reserve with a sprained MCL in his right knee, as Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune writes. The move will clear a spot for the return of tackle Tayo Fabuluje from a four-game suspension.

The veteran safety hurt his knee on the final play of a non-contract practice Nov. 20 and never returned from it. Fabuluje, meanwhile, has been out for roughly a month after testing positive for an appetite suppressant during training camp.

Fabuluje, a sixth-round pick in this year’s draft, was not in Chicago’s starting lineup this season, but he was a part of the field goal unit and present in goal-line and short-yardage situations.

Contract Details: Maxwell, Murray, McPhee

Here are some key details on some of the notable contracts agreed to or signed around the NFL this week:

NFC deals:

  • Byron Maxwell, CB (Eagles): Six years, $63MM base value. $25MM fully guaranteed. $6MM signing bonus (Twitter links via Tom Pelissero of USA Today and Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun).
  • DeMarco Murray, RB (Eagles): Five years, $40MM base value. $42MM max value. $18MM fully guaranteed (Twitter link via Albert Breer of the NFL Network).
  • Pernell McPhee, OLB (Bears): Five years, $38.75MM base value. $8.675MM fully guaranteed (Twitter link via Pelissero).
  • Antrel Rolle, S (Bears): Three years, $11.25MM base value. $4.9MM guaranteed. $3.9MM roster bonus in 2015 (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Tom Johnson, DT (Vikings): Three years, $7MM base value. $2.75MM guaranteed. $1.5MM roster bonus in 2015 (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Matt Prater, K (Lions): Two years, $4.55MM base value. Third-year team option for 2017 (Twitter link via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press).

AFC deals:

North Rumors: Blalock, Rolle, Ravens

Veteran offensive lineman Justin Blalock is paying a visit to the Lions today, according to Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (via Twitter). Yesterday, we learned that St. Louis and Detroit both have interest in the ex-Falcon, and that he planned to visit the Rams as well.

  • A day after agreeing to sign with the Bears, Antrel Rolle tells SiriusXM NFL Radio that his decision came down to Chicago and Washington, and adds that he’s not sure why the Giants seemingly had no interest in bringing him back (Twitter links).
  • The Ravens have preliminary interest in former Bills tight end Scott Chandler, league sources tell Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun (on Twitter). Chandler, 30 in July, was released by the Bills on Tuesday.
  • The Ravens are looking to bring in a veteran to challenge quarterback Keith Wenning for the backup job, Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun tweets. There’s not a whole lot of quality free agent quarterbacks remaining, however.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.