Safety Roman Harper will get his chance to test the open market when a new collective bargaining agreement is reached, but the two-time Pro Bowler prefers to remain with the Saints, Chris Abshire of The Times-Picayune reports.
“I plan on (being in New Orleans), but you never know how this crazy business will work,” said Harper. “It’s not always up to me. I don’t always get to make the decisions.”
A second round pick (43rd overall) out of Alabama in 2006, Harper has started all 67 games he’s been active (a torn ACL ended his rookie season after five games), totaling 405 tackles, 9.5 quarterback sacks, four interceptions, and 12 forced fumbles.
Harper’s four-year, $2.959 million rookie contract expired last offseason, but was denied unrestricted free agency by the uncapped year. Instead, Harper earned $2.521 million last season under a “First Round” restricted free agent tender.
The Saints are young and thin at the safety position, with only 23-year-old Malcolm Jenkins under contract for next season. According to Harper, the team would like to have him back in 2011.
“I love my teammates and coaches,” Harper said said. “They’ve been great, and the team indicated they wanted me back before the lockout. Hopefully, when we can start talking, everything gets worked out, and I’ll be back in the black and gold.”