The 33 year old was a key part of a defensive resurgence in Carolina that helped the Panthers reach the Super Bowl this past season. However, New Orleans is where he did his finest work. Over seven seasons, he logged seven picks for 105 return yards and a touchdown. He also broke up 54 passes, forced 15 fumbles, notched 17 sacks and amassed a stunning 529 tackles. He led New Orleans in tackles during their 31-17 win over the Colts in Super Bowl XLIV.
The team hopes pairing Harper with former first-round pick Kenny Vaccaro and Jairus Byrd will be a calming influence for a chaotic defensive backfield that floundered last season. With promising stars like Delvin Breaux also in the mix, New Orleans is hoping for a dramatic improvement from a unit that finished 31st against the pass a year ago.
Some might view this as an indictment on Byrd, who has not lived up to the massive six-year, $54 million deal he signed in 2014. Though the Saints seem to be financially tied to Byrd through this season, they could be lining up potential options to replace him. Along with Harper, the team also used a second-round pick on Ohio State safety Vonn Bell in this year's draft.
Byrd is sitting out the team's offseason program with knee soreness.