by Matt Bowen
February 22, 02010
Could you see Cardinals free safety Antrel Rolle playing in Lovie Smith's Cover 2 scheme in Chicago next season?
According to AZCardinals.com — the team’s official website — Rolle will be released before the start of free agency. He is due a $4 million dollar roster bonus at the start of the new league year (March 5), and his salary for 2010?
A cool $12 million.
As the NFP’s Brad Biggs points out, the Cards already have one of the league’s highest-paid safeties in Adrian Wilson. Call it a money issue if you want, but the real story here is that Rolle is going to hit the open market.
And Lovie and Bears GM Jerry Angelo should look to make a strong offer.
The safety play in Chicago during the ’09 season was brutal. And, in Lovie’s Cover 2 system — outside of the Mike Backer — the safety play is monumental to the success of the defense. The Bears need a playmaker, someone who can drive down off of the numbers and get to the football. They have players, and even young Al Afalava did showcase some ability to hold down a starting gig in Chicago, but there isn’t a player on that roster that compares to Rolle.
Not to mention the fact that Rolle can come down from the safety position and play man-coverage and pressure-man coverage on a No. 3 WR in the slot — which allows the Bears to keep their base package on the field.
Yes, there are other areas of the Bears defense that need to be examined — such as defensive end and the corner position opposite Charles Tillman. But my question is simple: why not at least float an offer to Rolle when free agency opens?
Besides the pressure that Lovie and the entire front office is under in Chicago, and despite the addition of Mike Martz to the coaching staff, this Bears defense needs to get better. The Bears are short on draft picks, and I don’t see how drafting a safety on the second day will match up to the skills and experience of a player like Rolle.
A safety with corner skills and a team in Chicago that has a desperate need for a player in the middle of the field and in their Cover 2 scheme to make plays on the football and turn this defense back into a turnover machine? It’s a perfect match.
Rolle still has to officially hit the market, but the opportunity is there for the Bears to add some talent and speed to their secondary.
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