With the news that the Saints will not franchise starting safety Darren Sharper, the possibility that the Giants will focus their attention on bringing in the decorated veteran safety come March 5, 2010 certainly increase. Even though Sharper is 34, he is coming off of a Pro Bowl campaign where he grabbed 9 interceptions (63 picks for his career) and his leadership in the Saints secondary can not be overstated. Even though the Saints did not franchise Sharper, you have to think they would welcome him back with open arms for the right price. Is Jerry Reese willing to overpay to bring Sharper in? That’s the big question.
Sharper himself is nothing if nor durable (over 13 seasons, Sharper has only missed 3 games in any one season). The Saints grabbed him on a bargain deal last year (1 year, $1.7 million), so Sharper is definitely looking for a multi-year deal and one more big payday. Still, you can’t expect Sharper to match his 9 picks (and 3 touchdown returns), but you can count on his leadership and a few big plays. Sharper would look great in blue, for the right price.
Logic dictates that you don’t overpay for players who are on the downside of their careers (as much as I hate to admit it, the Iggles have done very well with this philosophy over the past decade, see DE Hugh Douglas, LB Jeremiah Trotter, and SS Brian Dawkins). The level of the Giants interest in Sharper is obviously dictated by their faith in Kenny Philips returning to the field from major knee surgery and just how effective and durable he will be next year (and for years forward).
Don’t sleep on Antrel Rolle, who may see his way clear to free agency bonanza if the Cards tighten their money belt (as expected) and release Rolle instead of paying him a roster bonus of $4 million and a salary of $8.1 million for 2010. Rolle is only 27, adept at pass coverage, and is entering his prime. Of course, Rolle is likely to be pursued by several other clubs (possibly by Parcells’ Dolphins, who also will likely dance with the Giants on Karlos Dansby as well). And, Rolle is likely to want bigger money than Sharper. We’ll keep our eyes (nose and ears) open to see which way Jerry Reese is leaning on this one.