Keeping Darren Sharper on PUP list right move for New Orleans Saints
METAIRIE Ė To me, itís a no brainer.
Injured free safety/centerfielder Darren Sharper should start the regular season on the leagueís Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list for the New Orleans Saints.
Period. End of story.
And, that is the path I believe Saints Coach Sean Payton and General Manager Mickey Loomis ultimately will take when they trim their roster to fighting weight by 3 p.m. Saturday.
In my opinion, the 53-man roster will not include Sharper or injured linebacker Clint Ingram when the team begins game-planning in earnest Sunday for its nationally-televised opener against the Minnesota Vikings on Sept. 9 at the Superdome.
Neither player has been healthy enough to come off Active/PUP and get on the practice field during training camp or play in any of the four exhibition games. Neither will make the trip to Nashville, Tenn., for Thursday night's preseason finale against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field, remaining behind in New Orleans to continue rehabbing.
Therefore, it makes perfect sense for Payton and Loomis to give both players a minimum of six more weeks of rehabilitation to ensure they are closer to full recovery from offseason micro-fracture knee surgery.
There doesn't appear to be a mad rush to get either on the field, anyway. Malcolm Jenkins, the team's No. 1 pick in 2009, appears to be holding his own at free safety, and who knows what Ingram can do? I certainly don't. He hasn't been on the field in pads since arriving in New Orleans in the spring with a bum knee.
Itís clear where Sharper, a 14-year veteran who will turn 35 on Nov. 3, stands on the matter.
ďThatís not my thinking right now, to go on PUP,íí he told reporters Tuesday. ďI feel like Iím going to be ready (for the Vikings). Thatís my goal. I think Iíll be ready.
ďI feel good. Thatís not just me saying that because you guys are asking me right now in front of the cameras. I truly, honestly, feel good. Iím happy with the healing process. I feel as though it (his left knee) is healed. Now, itís just getting in football shape and getting ready to go.
ď(But) at the end of the day,íí Sharper said, ďitíll be up to Coach Payton and General Manager Mickey Loomis to decide if Iím ready. All I can do is do all of my rehab sessions and come out here and work hard every day. And when I get a chance to practice, show them that Iím ready to go.íí
Payton and Loomis havenít had the luxury of seeing Sharper and Ingram in a practice setting during training camp let alone the entire offseason, so their decision will be based largely on projections from the teamís medical and training staffs.
Each of the player's contract appears to be team friendly, meaning any decision made should not be influenced by money. It appears each contract was written with the player's current injured status in mind and designed to protect the team.
- Each week Sharper and Ingram stay on Reserve/PUP, they would be paid 1/17th of their annual base salary. For Sharper, that amounts to $88,235 per week, or 1/17th of his $1.5 million base salary. For Ingram, that amounts to $38,235 per week, or 1/17th of his $650,000 base salary.
- Each player also has roster bonuses written into his contract. Sharper is due $925,000 in roster bonuses to be paid out over the course of the season. Ingram is due $676,000 in roster bonuses to be paid out over the course of the season. Depending on the wording of the contract, each would be entitled to a portion of their roster bonuses even if they start the season on Reserve/PUP.
Keep in mind, being placed on Reserve/PUP doesnít guarantee either player job security for the entire six weeks. Each could receive an injury settlement from the team and be waived at any time.
But if either player gets released, either by Saturday or beyond, it would be because Payton deems that player can't help the team and not because he suddenly becomes a financial strain on the team.
Whereas I believe Sharper does figure into the teamís big picture this season, Iím not so sure about Ingram.
Sharper is coming off a Pro-Bowl and All-Pro season in 2009 that featured an NFL best nine interceptions and three touchdown returns. Ingram, on the other hand, was signed by Saints officials largely because of his past association with Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams in Jacksonville during the 2008 season.
In other words, when Ingram is healthy enough to get on the practice field, it will be his first full practice in pads in New Orleans.
ďIím making significant progress, maybe not as much as I thought I would have,íí said Ingram, who also is coming off micro-fracture surgery on his left knee. ďI definitely thought I would be out there by now. In talking with the doctors, itís basically having patience and letting it heal the way itís supposed to heal, instead of fighting it the whole season.
ďBasically, itís kind of letting it do what itís going to do and doing what I can to help it out along the way. Iím taking it a day at a time and see where we go from there.íí
Sharper echoed Ingramís sentiments.
ďItís kind of tough to review the film and never see yourself out there,íí Sharper said. ďIím used to being out there. Iím used to sitting back and being able to watch what Iíve done the day after a game. So itís disappointing.
ďYouíre champing at the bit to play. But, at the same time, you have to be smart and make sure that you heal up properly, so the latter part of the season youíre not dealing with the same injury that you dealt with at the beginning of the season.íí
All the more reason to be placed on Reserve/PUP.
- Six injured players will remain behind in New Orleans when the team travels to Nashville, Tenn., on Wednesday: CB Tracy Porter (knee), S Pierson Prioleau (knee), RT Zach Strief (knee), MLB Jonathan Vilma (groin), Sharper and Ingram.
- Two other injured players will make the trip but will not play against the Titans: TE Jeremy Shockey (mild concussion suffered against San Diego) and LB Stanley Arnoux (ankle).
Team officials trimmed their roster from 77 to 75 on Tuesday by releasing rookie QB Sean Canfield, their seventh-round draft pick from Oregon State, and undrafted rookie free agent WR Andy Tanner.
Canfield is a strong candidate to be re-signed to the teamís practice squad this weekend.
Most of the frontline players are expected to sit out Thursday nightís game, including QB Drew Brees and RDE Will Smith, among others. Ö Payton said QB Patrick Ramsey will start and play the first half and QB Chase Daniel will finish the game. Ö With an eye toward the Vikings, Payton said he will play mostly backups against the Titans, who are expected to open the exhibition game with their starters. Rookie TE Jimmy Graham is expected to play against the Titans after missing the past two exhibition games with a high ankle sprain. Ö It appears P Thomas Morstead will go into the regular season as the primary holder on extra points and FG attempts for K Garrett Hartley.
ďTo have an ĎXí on my back during the game, no sir. We already got the bullís-eye as a team. I donít want to have a bullís-eye on me with a brace, even though it might actually help me get more action. That (decision) will be made by the training staff. Do I feel like I can move with it? Does it allow me to be as free as I need to be to play a game? Right now, I donít like wearing braces.íí Ė Saints FS Darren Sharper when asked if he will wear a brace on his surgically-repaired knee in games.
Porter is another one that keeps getting injured. Might need to shore up that position again next year.
As long as he intercepts Hall of Fame QB's in big games... he can get injured all he wants to.
I've often heard "fans" of many teams talk about players always getting injured.
Considering none of us would last a nanosecond on the NFL field those statements really don't amount to diddley squat. Stick to being a couch potato.
I could probably make it 2 nanoseconds...
I could go 2 nano seconds too. Porter is a good player and I never said anything about cutting him. All I said is due to injury frequency it might be nice to have decent insurance. And being a couch potato still entitles me to an opinion, so stick it.
I could do a qb kneel down with the best of the best.
Anyways, I'm excited to see what Jenkins can do back there with the ball in front of him. Sharper had a great season last year, but I think what we saw of him the second half is really what to expect of him this season. Now I don't want Jenkins to take the full load back there... but I'd like to see a time share that will aid in the passing of the torch to Jenkins.
what's the point of this article? He says put them on the PUP, and then lists the financial concerns of keeping them . Which is it?
Payton doesn't have a crystal ball, but if these guys will be ready in 2-3 weeks, then they'll be on the active roster.
Maybe Loomis will pull another Holllis Thomas move and cut them both, and then bring them back when they are healthy
Choup this is a message board to discuss things...and thats what we do...Its BAW ..so i dont put much stock into what he says...i read earlier where Sharper said he is ready ..i can find a link if need be...
Sharper is one of those players that is hard to replace. Jenkins is going to be a good safety, however, I think the difference between he and Sharper is int's for td's
I for one, hope Sharper plays.....
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