July 29, 2011

Roman Harper to Return to Saints

Starting strong safety Roman Harper agreed to re-sign with the Saints on Friday, the first day of training camp practices.

The Saints entered free agency with a number of key starters set to hit free agency, creating serious concerns over continuity in the secondary, the offensive line and on special teams.

After re-signing Lance Moore, Scott Shanle, Jermon Bushrod, and some key special teams contributors, the biggest gap remaining in the depth chart was strong safety, where undrafted rookie DeAndre McDaniel was practicing as the starter today.

Harper was praised after the season as having a Pro Bowl performance by Gregg Williams, despite a wildcard playoff performance in Seattle where Harper was victimized in pass defense. Williams defended Harper, one of the team's enforcers and a starter since 2006 when he was the second draft selection of the Sean Payton era.

With over 405 career tackles, 9.5 sacks and four interceptions, Harper immediately solidifies the Saint secondary with experience and hard-hitting athleticism.

Harper's contract is worth $28 million over four years, with $16 million guaranteed.

That deal compares well to the contract signed by new Rams safety Quintin Mikell, who got $27 million over four years, with 14 million guaranteed.

Malcolm Jenkins, Harper's fellow starting safety, wrote via twitter Friday evening, "So glad to have my partner in crime @Harp41 back with us... now im really ready to get it in! Who Dat nation should be as excited as me!!"

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