Rolle to be highest-paid safety

Updated: March 6, 2010, 1:40 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Antrel Rolle is set to become the highest-paid safety in NFL history.

The New York Giants agreed to a five-year, $37 million deal with Rolle, ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter reported. Rolle is guaranteed $15 million and will receive $22.5 million over the first three years.

Rolle

"I'm ecstatic," Rolle said in a statement released by the Giants.

"The Giants are a first-class organization all the way. There are great opportunities for me, and I am excited to be working with the players I'll be working with. I think the sky's going to be the limit as to what we can do.

The signing fills a major need for the Giants, who lost Kenny Phillips to a serious knee injury early last season.

Phillips is expected back this season and having the two Miami products deep in the secondary should help a defense that struggled last year.

"Antrel is a young, ascending veteran player, and he is an outstanding person who will bring leadership, versatility and more big play ability to our secondary," general manager Jerry Reese said.

Rolle, who was recently released by the Cardinals, had four interceptions last season. The one that impressed the Giants the most came in late October when he stepped in front of Steve Smith to intercept an Eli Manning pass around the Cardinals 21-yard line with 68 seconds to play to nail down a 24-17 win.

New York had driven from its own 1-yard line in the final three minutes in an attempt to tie the game.

Arizona, which also lost linebacker Karlos Dansby to Miami late Friday, released Rolle on Thursday because it wanted to avoid paying him the $4 million roster bonus and the $8 million salary he was due.

However, the battle for Rolle came down to the Giants and Cardinals, and Rolle chose New York after visiting with the team most of Friday.

Rolle was Arizona's first-round pick, the eighth selection overall, out of Miami in 2005. He began his pro career as a cornerback but had most of his success after being switched to safety in 2008.

In 68 regular-season games, 59 as a starter, he had 12 interceptions, four forced fumbles and 1 sacks. In six postseason games, Rolle had an interception and a fumble recovery.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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