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Saints solidify secondary with Harper

7/30/2011

The New Orleans Saints, who already have done a good job of keeping their own free agents, wrapped up another important piece late Friday night.

The team announced it has agreed to terms with strong safety Roman Harper. Contract details were not available immediately, but the return of Harper solidifies the defensive secondary.

Harper is coming off his second straight Pro Bowl selection (he’s the first safety in franchise history to make the Pro Bowl in consecutive years) and had 100 tackles, three sacks and one interception last season.

With Jabari Greer and Tracy Porter as the starting cornerbacks and Malcolm Jenkins at free safety, Harper’s return could give the Saints one of the league’s top defensive backfields. Second-year pro Patrick Robinson also is expected to take on an increased role as the nickel back.

Harper’s return also could signal the end of Darren Sharper's time in New Orleans. Signed in 2009, the veteran Sharper played a big role in the Saints winning the Super Bowl that season. But injuries kept him out of action much of last season and allowed Jenkins to establish himself as a solid starter.

Sharper still could return in a backup role, but he may prefer to go to a team where he has a chance to start.