The Saints have decided to allow Sharper to test the free-agent market, though they will try to re-sign him. The 34-year-old is expected to be the top free-agent safety available.
A 13-year veteran, Sharper was essential to the Saints' Super Bowl title. He tied for the most interceptions in the NFL in 2009 (nine) and returned three for touchdowns.
ESPN.com's Len Pasquarelli initially reported the Saints would not franchise Sharper. If the Saints had franchised Sharper, he would have been assured of making $6.45 million in 2010.
Sharper signed a one-year, $1.7 million deal last spring.
Adam Schefter is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com