In a bit of surprising move, the Jets released veteran linebacker David Harris on Tuesday.
The timing of the move, June 6, when other teams have already begun OTAs and minicamps was the surprising thing and his agents aren’t pleased.
“Very disappointed in the timing of this event and the decision,” Harris’ agents, Brian Mackler and Jim Ivler of Sportstars, said via NFL.com. “The Jets could’ve done this prior to free agency instead of waiting three months, especially for a player who has exhibited nothing but loyalty and class for 10 years.”
Harris, 33, was the Jets’ second-round pick in 2007 and has missed just one game in the last seven seasons. The Patriots are very familiar with Harris, playing the Jets twice every year, and Bill Belichick has always been very complimentary of the Michigan product.
“I have a lot of respect for David Harris,” Belichick said in 2014. “That guy is, first of all, he never comes of the field – not [just] this year, but any year. The guy is like a 98, 99 percent playtime player for them every year, year after year. It's obviously as defense that has a lot of communication and adjustments and he's certainly at the center of that, both as the signal caller and then at the line of scrimmage you can see him adjusting the front or making some type of communication calls to his teammates. He's a very instinctive player, which unfortunately we've seen that firsthand. He does a good job for them. he's been very consistent, durable, dependable, productive over a long period of time.”
This raises the question, would the Patriots be interested in Harris? The short answer is probably, yes.
Of all the positions on the team, linebacker may be the biggest question mark with no one locked in to play next to Dont’a Hightower in the middle of the defense, and also it’s worth noting Hightower’s injury history. As it stands now, behind Hightower on the depth chart is Elandon Roberts, Kyle Van Noy, Shea McClellin and Jonathan Freeny.
Harris would probably be the best of that bunch.
Given Harris’ age, this wouldn’t be a long-term thing, but something the Patriots might want to consider, even to the point of bringing him in on a visit to see what he has left.
Harris hasn’t been to a Super Bowl, so if he’s looking to win, what better place than New England? It wouldn’t be a big contract given his age, but both sides would likely be able to come together and make it work with Harris knowing first hand just how good the Patriots are.
Don’tÂ be surprised if you hear Belichick and the Patriots kicking the tires on Harris in the coming days and weeks.