Darren Sharper won a Super Bowl last season, and had a chance to cash in on those winnings with a free agent deal in Jacksonville. Instead, the 34-year-old safety (pictured, left) and five-time Pro Bowl selection took a one-year deal to remain with the Saints.
"We took a shot at it," Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio told the Florida Times-Union. "A lot of us thought it'd be a good fit for us and for him. We aggressively pursued the potential of bringing him here and showed him our interest. If it didn't work out, then we just wish him the best and go forward."
Sharper had nine interceptions, including three returned for touchdowns, in helping the Saints to a stunning run to the Super Bowl title. The Jags had hoped to make Sharper the eighth new player on a defense that finished 23rd last season in yards allowed. Among the new players brought in: Packers free agent defensive end Aaron Kampman and Raiders middle linebacker Kirk Morris.
"Darren made a decision that he felt was in his best interest," Jaguars general manager Gene Smith said. "He's a consummate pro and a class individual."
Sharper's availability for the Saints remains somewhat of a question mark. During the off-season, he underwent microfracture knee surgery.
The Jets might have had an interest in Sharper had he remained on the market, but their hands were tied by rules governing free agency in an uncapped season. The Jets would have had to see one of their own free agents sign with another team before being able to sign Sharper. Or else they could have waited until after July 22, when rules governing the Final 8 playoff teams lapse.