Rumors of his demise were greatly exaggerated.
Long-tenured Jets linebacker David Harris took a big step towards retiring with the team that drafted him when he signed a deal with the team on Friday. The three-year contract is worth $21.5 million sources confirmed to Metro New York, ensuring that the linebacker is going to be a part of the Jets rebuilding process.
Drafted by the Jets out of Michigan in 2007, Harris has spent the entirety of his solid career with the team. The 31-year old linebacker is the model of consistency as he has played every game the past six seasons, often through multiple injuries. He had 71 tackles this past season and his 5.5 sacks was his highest total since 2009 and tied for his career-high.
Rumors and speculation for much of the week had Harris going to the Buffalo Bills to re-join head coach Rex Ryan. But a source tells Metro that Harris “always wanted to stay with the Jets and that the team had no intention of letting him go.”
The move comes on the same day that the team traded a fifth round pick to the Chicago Bears for wide receiver Brandon Marshall, adding the dynamic five-time Pro Bowl selection to a passing offense that was among the worst in the league last year.
Often known for his run support, a more svelte Harris appeared more comfortable in space last year and his pass protection seemed more fluid than in year’s past. There’s a hope that he can continue to be a starter at a high-level for the first two years of his contract, where the bulk of the guaranteed money in the deal sits.
While he might play beyond the length of this current contract, by signing Harris the Jets add stability to a defense that needs to add another pass rusher and also has some serious concerns in the backend. Harris returning to the team means less upheaval to the unit and also allows the Jets to draft a middle linebacker in the later rounds to groom as his eventual successor.