NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The New York Giants have a huge hole to fill on the field and in the locker room.
Outspoken safety Antrel Rolle is moving on to Chicago, agreeing Wednesday to a three-year deal with the Bears.
Rolle’s signing adds a playmaker and stabilizing force to a defense that struggled in a big way the past two years. Chicago gave up the two highest point totals the past two years and is undergoing a makeover after a five-win season.
Rolle told SiriusXM NFL Radio last week that he had not spoken with the New York Giants since exit day, immediately following the team’s 6-10 finish. He said general manager Jerry Reese “pretty much laid everything out for me, let me know that they’re going to allow me to test the market, you know, to see my worth and see my value.”
The three-time Pro Bowler thanked the organization from top to bottom in a post on Instagram.
“NY is the only place that I call home away from home,” said Rolle, who won a Super Bowl title with the Giants. “You all have been so great to me and honestly I love you all to death for it. You all have me so many priceless memories that will never ever be forgotten. Once a Giant always a Giant and I sincerely believe in that.”
Rolle, who was known as the Giants’ emotional leader, was given a sendoff by several ex-teammates on Twitter.
Rolle, a 10-year veteran, has 26 interceptions with the Arizona Cardinals and Giants. He thanked the Chicago organization on Twitter and posted a picture showing him signing, with Bears helmet on the table. He wrote it was a “long, painful, and exhausting day,” but both sides got what they want — A Team that wants to win and a player that would give them everything he got to win.”
Chicago has a new general manager in Ryan Pace and coach in John Fox. The Bears also are switching from a 4-3 to 3-4 defense.
The Bears also announced a three-year deal for Eddie Royal, who had 62 receptions for 778 yards and seven touchdowns last season for San Diego. He spent his first four seasons in Denver, where as a teammate of current Bears quarterback Jay Cutler he caught a career-best 91 passes in 2008.
(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)