It’s no secret the Bears have not had a leader at safety since the infamous Mike Brown, he of the back-to-back, overtime, game-winning interception returns for touchdowns in 2001. Since he left the Bears, the team has not had stability at the safety position, or a leader calling the shots for the defensive backfield.
The Bears are hoping they’ve remedied the latter of those two things with the announcement of the signing of veteran safety Antrel Rolle to a three-year, $11.25 million deal, per Rolle’s agent.
It’s certainly reasonable for Bears fans to be skeptical and think that Rolle’s best years are behind him. He is a three-time Pro Bowler (in 2009, 2010, and 2013) and a two-time All-Pro (2010, 2013). And at 32 years of age, Rolle is too advanced in years to fix the long-term stability of the defense. But what he can do is come in and provide veteran leadership to a defense in a state of flux.
After posting six interceptions in the 2013 season, Rolle only had three last year for the New York Giants. But Rolle makes his presence felt in other ways, as he is routinely among the leaders in tackles for both his team and among all defensive backs in the NFL.
While the Bears’ main goal over time is to get younger — which is incongruent with the Rolle signing — they also have to find immediate stability to stop the bleeding from the disaster of the past two seasons.
The Bears are also trying to cleanse the cap, rid the team of bad contracts, and to find pieces that can fit the new offensive and defensive philosophies.
At least in the interim, they’ve found that in Rolle.