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NFL: Sharper surrenders to authorities

on March 02, 2014 1:55 AM

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Former NFL All-Pro safety Darren Sharper surrendered to Los Angeles police after being named in a warrant involving a rape case in New Orleans.

Sharper, 38, also is under investigation in sexual assault cases in Florida, Nevada and Arizona and has pleaded not guilty to rape charges in Los Angeles.

In a bail motion filed in the California case, Los Angeles County Investigator John Maccharella described a pattern in which the former football star met women at clubs or parties and lured them to a hotel room, where they were allegedly drugged and raped.

Lawyers for Sharper, who played in the NFL from 1997 to 2010 primarily with the Green Bay Packers, have said they would prove that any sexual contact Sharper engaged in was consensual.

Saints put franchise tag on Graham

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The New Orleans Saints placed their franchise tag on Jimmy Graham in order to protect the club's rights to its star tight end through next season.

The move means Graham, barring a holdout, will almost certainly play for New Orleans next season for no less than the tight end franchise tag of $7.04 million.

It is also possible, under the NFL's collective bargaining agreement, that Graham could be tagged as a receiver because of how often he lined up split wide from the line. That would carry a tag of $12.3 million.

• CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Panthers used the franchise tag on Greg Hardy, preventing the outspoken defensive end from hitting the free agent market.

Hardy will make $12.45 million next season.

NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Jets placed the franchise tag on kicker Nick Folk.

Folk made $780,000 last season, but the franchise tag estimate for kickers is about $3.4 million for this season.

• OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) — The Baltimore Ravens and tight end Dennis Pitta reached agreement on a five-year contract.

Pitta, Baltimore's fourth-round pick in 2010, was set to become an unrestricted free agent when free agency starts March 11.

NFL’s salary cap highest ever

NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL's salary cap for this season has been set at $133 million, the highest amount in league history.

Each team must be compliant with the cap number by March 11, when the league's free agency period begins. The cap amount announced Friday, which applies to active players’ salaries, is up from $123 million last season and surpasses the previous high of $127,997,000 in 2009.

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