It does not appear as if free agent safety Roman Harper has generated any interest on the open market, but the 34-year-old says that he is still mulling his NFL future and is in no rush to make a decision as to whether he wants to retire or continue playing. Harper said, per Herbie Teope of the Times-Picayune, “[a]s a family, we haven’t really decided on it yet, so one good thing is that I have time. I’m in no hurry to make a decision.”
Harper, whom the Saints selected in the second round of the 2006 draft, made a name for himself as a hard hitter and proficient tackler, which helped to mitigate his struggles in coverage. He spent his first eight seasons in New Orleans before signing with the division-rival Panthers in 2014, and he was fairly productive in his second and final season in Carolina in 2015, as he started all 19 of the team’s games (playoffs included) that season while grading 53rd out of 89 qualifying safeties per Pro Football Focus.
However, his return to New Orleans last season was less than triumphant, as he started just four games and posted a career-low 22 tackles. But with the start of the regular season still over three months away, there is still time for an opportunity to present itself. Meanwhile, Harper is enjoying the freedom that not being under contract at this point in the season has afforded him, as he has had the opportunity to attend the NFL Broadcast Boot Camp and travel.
Given that the Saints drafted safety Marcus Williams this year and signed Rafael Bush in free agency, it does not appear as if Harper will be suiting up for New Orleans in 2017. Saints head coach Sean Payton, though, did try to recruit Harper to join him on the sidelines as a coach, though Harper is unsure if coaching is in the cards for him. He said, “[c]oaching, I just don’t know. I’ve given so much time to this game already. I definitely need to decompress when I do say I’m done and get away from it for a little while before I really make that decision on where my next chapter is.”
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.