Sharper could be a bargain for Saints once again

If the New Orleans Saints were ever considering placing the franchise tag on 34-year-old safety Darren Sharper, their decision not to do so was one of the best this offseason.

In the aftermath of the Saints’ first Super Bowl championship, there was considerable speculation the Saints would go ahead and tag Sharper at a cost of $6.455 million, a move that didn’t make a lot of sense given his age and the lack of interest there was in him in the previous offseason.

Turns out there was an even better reason not to tag Sharper and that is the microfracture knee surgery he had in February. Sharper came back to the Saints at a value, too, as Jason La Canfora of the NFL Network reports that Sharper’s base deal this season is worth $1.5 million. He signed last year for $1.7 million.

Sharper gets a $75,000 signing bonus and he can also earn an additional $1 million in the form of a roster bonus. What specifically that bonus is tied to is unknown. But it represents about one-third of the franchise tag price and that’s a savings for the Saints, especially for a player returning from a serious surgery.

Sharper, who was selected to the Pro Bowl this past season and tied for the NFL lead with nine interceptions, has been a model of durability throughout his career and it will not be surprising to see him perform at a high level this season. But the Saints had to protect themselves and these numbers prove they did just that.

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