The Arizona Cardinals officially released safety Antrel Rolle on Thursday to avoid paying a $4 million roster bonus and the $8.1 million salary Rolle was set to earn in the final year of his rookie contract.
The Bears are expected to make a serious run at Rolle, even though Arizona will make re-signing Rolle one of their “top free-agent priorities", according to the team's official Web site.
Rolle is eligable to sign with any of the 32 NFL teams, and will not be affected by the league's final eight rule.
Rolle wrote on his blog at Playerpress.com that he expects to be on the phone quite a bit in the coming days.
"I'm leaving myself open to all markets right now," he wrote. "I will be looking for teams with certain defensive schemes and teams that have a good reputation as far as how the organization is run. But right now I am willing to listen to anyone."
Rolle also said he's willing and able to play anywhere in a defensive backfield for whichever team signs him.
"I don't consider myself just a safety now since I switched over from cornerback," he wrote. "I can play all over, return punts, play some on offense. I really just consider myself an athlete more than a position player."