Last word on the Antrel Rolle deal

When Antrel Rolle signed his new five-year, $37 million contract with the Giants, word quickly spread that he’s now the highest-paid safety in NFL history.

We said it.

Adam Schefter said it.

Jason La Canfora said it.

But then we started getting questions from readers who thought that Colts safety Bob Sanders had gotten a better deal.  Last night, we laid out the differences between the two contracts, pointing out that Sanders had signed six-year, $38.5 million deal, and that Rolle had signed a five-year deal from scratch.

That hasn’t put the matter to bed, and for good reason.  As a source with knowledge of the Sanders contract pointed out today, the Sanders extension was done late in the 2007 season, so it really wasn’t a six-year deal.

The new money for Sanders’ deal was $37.5 million over five years.  Rolle’s deal was $37 million over five years.  (The deal possibly was done at the tail end of the 2007 season to take advantage of any remaining cap space.)

Factoring in the reality that Sanders’ deal was negotiated late in the 2007 season, the numbers are very close, with Sanders holding the total edge as to total dollars.

This doesn’t change the fact, however, that Rolle has $15 million that is guaranteed for skill and injury; Sanders’ guarantee for skill and injury is only $8 million.  It means that, for example, if Sanders passes a physical before the start of the 2010 season and the Colts decide based on their success in 2009 without him that they don’t want to pay him the balance of the deal, any remaining guaranteed money not guaranteed for both skill and injury would be lost.

The reality is that there are enough facts to allow manipulation based on perspective.  Rolle’s camp has every incentive to characterize those facts as making the former Cardinal the highest-paid player in the league.  And Sanders’ camp or Troy Polamalu’s camp or other agents who are competing with Rolle’s agents have every reason, as they undoubtedly did, to funnel contrary information to folks in the media, like our friend Mike Garafolo of the Newark Star-Ledger, who in our view adopted a tone that was a little too preachy and not sufficiently pragmatic given that his article was influenced by the other side of the same coin that got us, Schefter, and LaCanfora to declare that Rolle is now the highest paid safety in the league.  (In this regard, we also think that Polamalu’s four-year extension signed before the 2007 season even started must be viewed as a five-year deal, which would presumably make his contract inferior to both Sanders’ and Rolle’s.)

It’s also possible that the Giants are pushing this information in order to deflect criticism that they made a guy who arguably isn’t the best safety in the league the richest one.  But teams rarely put out accurate contractual information, since they want the player to be happy with his deal — and thus not asking for more money while the ink is still moist.

From our perspective, we care only about making sure the audience has access to accurate information.  Even if it means clarifying the numbers at best, and scraping canine fecal matter off our shoes at worst.

In this case, both sides can make a plausible claim to having the biggest contract for any safety in league history.  And, obviously, both sides are.

28 responses to “Last word on the Antrel Rolle deal

  1. Well, I sure am glad I’m clear on that. I like to keep informed about comparisons between multimillionaire football players. By the way, is anyone hiring? I’m not sure how I’m paying my bills this month.

  2. Personally, I think either way he is overpaid. So frankly it doesn’t really matter. But good info.

  3. Bob Sanders did get the better deal, he only plays half the time Antrel Rolle or any other player for that matter does.

  4. Rolle will be exposed so much in N.Y for his lack of play! I seen it too many times at Cardinal games. Kerry Rhodes is an upgrade in my opinion. Rolle will eb out of N.Y. within 3 years. The media will destroy him.

  5. here’s another fact…HE IS NO WHERE WORTH THAT KIND OF CAKE….believe me, I’ve had Cards season tix for 18 years….the guy had a FEW good/great GAMES….happier here in the desert with Kerry Rhodes

  6. All this crap over bragging rights. When are you going to run the story about how Vegas is worried that Jerry Jones is going to steal a bunch of their events?

  7. Giants defense sure gave up a slew of points near the end of last season:
    45 vs. Philadelphia 12/13, 41 vs. carolina 12/27 and 44 at Favre and the Vikings Jan 3rd.
    Will the addition of Antrel Rolle be enough to stop the slide?
    Amazing how things changed for the Giants with the loss of Plaxico Burress!
    I loved it, when after Plaxico’s predicting that the Giants would win the Super Bowl in a low-scoring affair, Tom Brady asked: “Is Plax playing defense now?”!

  8. i be lmaof when desean jackson burns rolle any given day against this weak defense seems like they dont appreciate the good talent they have cough* osi lol bad bad bad move wouldnt u agree lol

  9. Great two over paid safties. Neither one could carry BDAWK’s jock strap. Sanders is good when that softy plays.

  10. Who cares? He is the highest paid safety and is clearly not the best one in the NFL. Wish the Dolphins would have got him but not to make him paid like the best. In all honesty Rolle is above average but not great like a handful of others around the league.

  11. Are you really spending your time breaking this down. No one truly cares who the highest paid safety in the league is, it doesn’t matter or have any effect on anything.

  12. hahahaha florio your goal is to get clicks not deliver accurate information. Don’t take us all for idiots.

  13. Yeah, but Sanders is being payed to play about 5 games a season, so really he’s coming out on top.

  14. Hi Florio,
    Just for clarification and education of the ignorant masses (like myself), can you explain how “guaranteed” money would lost?
    e.g. you wrote “any remaining guaranteed money not guaranteed for both skill and injury would be lost.”
    I guess I’m just asking for a detailed explanation of the taxonomy of “guaranteed” money, which isn’t really “guaranteed.”

  15. Bob Sanders will only play 7 quarters of football this upcoming season before being placed on IR for being butthurt.

  16. Yeah… Quick question for everyone: When did Antrel Rolle become considered as one of the league’s top safeties? Remember, just because you have the highest paid player at a position, doesn’t mean you have the best player. People who know football, know Rolle is not even a top ten safety. He doesn’t play safety because he excels at it, he plays safety because he failed horribly at cornerback.

  17. “Bob Sanders did get the better deal, he only plays half the time Antrel Rolle or any other player for that matter does.”
    LOL – If you break it down by game it seems fair.

  18. Who cares how much rolle is gonna make, the team pays what the market value is. If the giants didn’t pay him somebody else would have. They’re all overpaid, so who gives a s**t

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