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Linebacker David Harris is signing with the New England Patriots. The announcement was made by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
To me, this isn’t that big a deal.
Harris doesn’t run well anymore. He’s not at every down player. He is a liability in space with average recovery speed. He has limited range in zone coverage and is stressed by tight ends and running backs in man coverage. In other words, he has major coverage limitations. His lack of foot speed needs to be concealed schematically by defensive coaches. I’m sorry, that is a problem in a pass-happy league.
The Jets wanted Harris to take a pay cut. And rightfully so. The $6.5 million he was scheduled to make was too much money for a 33-year-old linebacker who is a now a two-down player. But the Jets should have broached the subject in February-March, not in June.
Harris signed a two-year deal for $5 million with New England with just $1.25 million guaranteed. That money makes a lot more sense than his old Jets deal, which the team got out of by releasing him last week.
Pro Football Talk had this item, likely from Harris’ agents, who are very media-friendly.
“Here’s what we know, per a source with knowledge of the situation: The Patriots offered Harris more than the Jets did on a reduced deal, before the Jets cut him,” wrote Mike Florio.
This nugget is a little misleading, and was probably leaked to make the Jets look bad.
If the Jets had offered David Harris a two-year deal for $5 million with $1.25 million guaranteed would he have taken it?
Until Florio finds that out, his report doesn’t mean much.
I have a really hard time believing the Jets wouldn’t have offered that. I don’t think it even got to that point. I think Harris was so pissed at the Jets for asking to take a pay cut in June, after he went through their entire off-season program, he wasn’t that interested in major cut from.
We have all seen this many times. A player who might not want to take a pay cut with his current team, will take
one with another team. It’s an ego thing. I’ve seen this hundreds of times over my time covering the NFL.
I don’t think Harris’ signing with the Patriots is going to hurt the Jets that much on the field. Like I said, he doesn’t run that well anymore. He’s now a two-down run stopper. But I do think it will be hurt the Jets in terms of intel. Harris is extremely bright, and called the signals for Todd Bowles defense on the field. He knows the Jets’ defensive playbook like the back of his hand. If you don’t think Tom Brady’s going to pick the brain of his fellow Michigan Wolverine, you are kidding yourself. He also knows the strengths and weaknesses of his former defensive teammates. He certainly could tell Brady a thing or two about the youngster who lined up next to Harris last year – Darron Lee.
So to me, a big part of the Harris signing was for information. Not only can Harris help the Patriots deal with the Jets, but he also has a strong feel for the Miami Dolphins, perhaps New England’s biggest threat this year. I left out Buffalo because they have a new staff and playbooks.
June 21, 2017
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