The Arizona Cardinals officially released starting safety Antrel Rolle to avoid paying him a boat-load of cash.
The move comes as no big surprise. To keep Rolle, the Cards would have had to pony up a $4 million roster bonus he was due and the additional $8.1 million salary he's owed in the final year of his rookie contract.
"We've always been under the impression Antrel wanted to remain an Arizona Cardinal," General Manager Rod Graves says in a statement today. "We have been able to develop him, and we have seen him develop into an outstanding player, and we want to keep that relationship going. We're not looking to lose quality players, but again, all of those decisions have to make sense to us from a team standpoint."
The Cardinals say they offered Rolle a long-term contract, but the star safety wanted to see how he would fare on the open market.
Rolle is reportedly looking for something in the ball park of $8 million per season, which would make him the highest paid safety in the league and a price the Cards aren't likely to meet if they do decide to make him another offer.
The Cardinals organization says it's making Rolle one of their top free-agent priorities, so there's still a chance we will see him in Cards' uniform next season, but with teams like the Miami Dolphins and the Chicago Bears eyeing him, our guess is he'll be soaring out of Cardinals country as soon as another team makes him a legitimate offer.