NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora reports that Harper and Smith, who were first and second on the team in sacks last year, featured prominently in the league’s investigation of bounties and may face more serious discipline than most of their 22 to 27 teammates who were identified as taking part in the bounty scandal.
Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma committed the single most dramatic act that has been revealed in the team’s bounty findings when he reportedly put $10,000 in cash on the table in the team’s meeting room and said it would go to whoever knocked Brett Favre out of the NFC Championship Game, and Vilma is bracing for a suspension of 2-8 games. There have been no specifics reported about what kind of discipline other Saints players are facing, but Harper and Smith may need to be worried about suspensions of their own.
The Saints need to be worried, too, especially if the NFL doesn’t allow them to stagger players’ suspensions and they have to start the season without multiple defensive starters. When the 2012 NFL schedule comes out today, the teams that face the Saints in the first couple games of the season should celebrate: They’ll be facing a depleted Saints team.