Darren Sharper came to Jacksonville yesterday for a visit. A lot of fans hope for a signing and a lot of fans think it means the end of former first round pick safety Reggie Nelson's mistake prone tenure in the defensive backfield. Sharper did conduct a physical with the Jacksonville Jaguars yesterday afternoon, but after that no one outside of the stadium really knows. I've heard from some people he's on his way to Dallas and I've heard he's still in town.
While Sharper is still up in the air, I don't think the fate of Reggie Nelson is sealed either way.
Some, including myself, had the belief that Reggie Nelson may fall victim to the Turk during final cuts in training camp. I don't hold that belief anymore, that is barring Reggie Nelson is just downright atrocious in training camp and the preseason.
I followed the money.
Reggie Nelson is only due roughly $725,000 in salary in 2010.
A lot of the time if you want to figure out if a questionable player will remain on the roster, follow the money.
That's a bargain, even for a mistake prone safety.
We all know Reggie Nelson's shortcomings, but there is no denying his athletic ability and physical talent. His biggest problem on the field was the mental aspect, he was easy to bait. He often bit on play fakes and double moves. If the light bulb can somehow come on for Reggie Nelson, he could climb back to being a good safety like he was his rookie season, when he had 5 interceptions and made numerous plays.
Part of the benefit of having a veteran like Darren Sharper is he could have the same effect, possibly, on the young safeties that Torry Holthad on the young wide receivers. Now, I'm one of those people who think coaches coach and players play, but it doesn't hurt to have a seasoned and decorated veteran on the roster to show the guys how to prepare for Sunday. That was one of the biggest benefits Torry Holt brought, he taught them what to do off the football field more so than on it. When Reggie Nelson had his good rookie year, the other starting safety was Sammy Knight, another seasoned veteran.
Adam, one of our bloggers, has brought up some great points to me about why the Sharper signing wouldn't be as great as people are making it out to be. First, he's just a band-aid player, similar to Torry Holt. Second, he's going to be 35 years old at the start of the season, and when you're old it goes, and goes fast. Finally, Sharper's play tailed off at the end of last season and he's recovering from knee surgery in the off season. You can't be sure which Darren Sharper you're going to get, plus he had issues last season with the Saints and knee swelling.
Personally, I'm fine either way. I understand if they sign Darren Sharper and like the move. If they did in fact let Sharper head to Dallas without striking a deal, again I understand and like the non-move.
It does look like Reggie Nelson is going to be on the team in 2010 and the Jaguars are going to look to see if they can finally salvage his physical ability one more time. Signing Sharper would also mean you'd need to dump a safety and I'm not sure who the Jaguars would release, as it's likely it's not Reggie Nelson.
I'll say this though, with or without Darren Sharper... keep an eye on one of the young safeties in camp; Courtney Greene.