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NFL Free Agency: Antrel Rolle Signing a Major Boost to New York Giants

Michael PintoSenior Writer IMarch 6, 2010

GLENDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 15:  Antrel Rolle #21 of the Arizona Cardinals is pursued by Deion Branch #83 of the Seattle Seahawks after making an interception in the second half at University of Phoenix Stadium on November 15, 2009 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Seahawks 31-20.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Several different media outlets have reported that Antrel Rolle has agreed to a five-year, $37 million contract with the New York Giants.

After spending the first day of free agency in New York, it appeared a deal was imminent. But because the Arizona Cardinals had asked to be given the opportunity to match any offer Rolle received, it was expected he wouldn't be signing any deals today.

That appears to have gone out the window. For this deal to get done, the Giants must have forked over some serious change—enough that it couldn't have been worth it for Arizona to compete.

The playmaking safety who recorded four interceptions last season will provide a significant boost to a Giants team that struggled mightily against the pass in 2009—15th in the NFL.

Injuries to cornerbacks Cory Webster and Aaron Ross exposed New York's safeties as subpar talent. Teams were able to stretch the field against the Giants on numerous occasions—and too many big plays were given up as a result.

Incumbent starting free safety Aaron Rouse struggled throughout the year and failed to record an interception in 14 games.

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Kenny Philips, the 23-year-old strong safety, was emerging as an All-Pro-caliber player at the start of the 2009 season—but a left knee injury ended his campaign after only two weeks.

Once Philips was lost, it became more and more clear that New York was in serious need of help on the back end of its defense.

Enter Antrel Rolle. After being used more as a midfielder in Arizona, the Giants are planning on utilizing the 27-year-old in more of a ball-hawking manner—like that of fellow former University of Miami star safety Ed Reed.

With eight passes defended, one forced fumble, and 1.5 sacks to go along with his four picks, Rolle should thrive in the playmaking role the Giants envision for him.

Hopefully, the money will make it worthwhile.

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