Everyone seems to have a different opinion on what the Saints will do with safety Darren Sharper, who is scheduled to become a free agent officially on March 5th, although they have until February 25th to decide whether or not to franchise him.
Sharper quickly emerged as one of the Saints biggest play makers on defense during the 2009 season amidst questions if the 34 year old still had the ability to be an impact player after being cast off from the Minnesota Vikings.
Well Sharper more than proved he was still an impact player by co-leading the NFL with nine interceptions while setting a new record for return yardage with 376 yards from those picks, three going for touchdowns.
For a few days now there have been conflicting reports on what exactly will happen to Sharper starting when local beat writer Jeff Duncan of the New Orleans Times-Picayune said he “can’t see the Saints franchising a 34 year old safety” in a February 10th tweet.
Then Len Pasquarelli from ESPN reported the Saints had no intentions of using the franchise tag on Sharper but instead would like to hammer out a multi-year contract with the Pro Bowl safety.
To complicate things further Steve Wyche from NFL network stated the Saints do intend the place the franchise tag on Sharper, a rumor also confirmed by the NFL’s fly on the wall reporter Adam Schefter.
Sharper stands to get a gigantic pay raise if the Saints do use the franchise tag, his base salary will go from 1.7M to 6.44M on another one year contract.
The Saints could also let Sharper hit the market and match or better the offers he may receive, the popular opinion is he wont command 6.44M from another team in free agency.
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