Loomis on Sharper: "We'll see how that plays out"

If someone wants to pay big bucks to Darren Sharper, Mickey Loomis will wish him the best of luck and the New Orleans Saints will move on.

Loomis, talking Friday about the draft and free agency, basically made it known that the Saints have a standing offer for Sharper, the 34-year-old safety who earned Pro Bowl honors last season and tied for the league lead in interceptions. If Sharper, who has had offseason arthroscopic knee surgery, gets a better offer elsewhere, New Orleans isn’t going to blink.

"I'm not optimistic or pessimistic,” Loomis said according to Mike Triplett of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “We'll see how that plays out.

"We have a specific idea of what we want to pay Darren. But if another team offers a big contract, I'll be happy for him, just like I was happy for Scott Fujita (when he signed with the Cleveland Browns)," Loomis said. "(Sharper) has expressed pretty clearly that he'd prefer to be back with the Saints. But I understand he wants to maximize his earnings."

Sharper hasn’t received any known interest on the open market. It’s similar to what happened to him a year ago when he left the Minnesota Vikings. The Saints were the only team to step forward and got him for what turned out to be a bargain at $1.7 million. Based on his production, you would think they would sweeten the deal a little for him this season, but obviously the Saints were not interested in franchising him and you cannot invest longterm in a player that is his age.

It’s telling that Loomis said safety is not a position that is a “must need” and he pointed out that the team likes Usama Young and that cornerback Malcolm Jenkins, their first-round draft pick a year ago, could make the move to safety.

Even without Sharper signed, Loomis said he doesn't consider the safety position a "must need" in the draft. He said the Saints like fourth-year pro Usama Young, whop moved from cornerback to free safety last year. And he said they like second-year cornerback Malcolm Jenkins, who could potentially make the same move if needed.

So, right now if Sharper heads back to the Saints, he’ll be doing so at their price. Stay tuned.

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