Yesterday, the New York Jets made the surprising move to release linebacker David Harris, a move that seems mainly motivated by a desire to save salary cap space.
Harris had an incredibly productive career with the Jets since being drafted in the second round of the 2007 NFL Draft, playing in 154 games and starting 147 while recording 1,087 tackles, 35 sacks, eleven forced fumbles, 31 passes defensed, and six interceptions. Over the past eight seasons, he missed only one game (which came in 2016), playing in 127 of 128 contests. In 2016, he started 15 games and recorded 95 tackles, 0.5 sacks, and two passes defensed.
We’ve talked a lot about the Colts’ inside linebacker position, and it’s clearly an area with a lot of question marks still, so it’s only natural for some to wonder whether Harris would be a fit for Indianapolis.
Harris still has some value as a 3-4 MIKE linebacker against the run, meaning that he probably could be a solid run defender on early downs for a team in need of that, and he’s also a very durable player. But at the same time, he’s also 33 years old and past his prime. As Gang Green Nation’s David Wyatt wrote of Harris, “Mr Reliable, Harris has been incredibly durable over the years starting every game but one over the last 8 years. Although clearly in the twilight of his career, Harris remained a reliable run stuffer and offered experience to a young linebacking core.”
Does that remind you of anyone? An incredibly durable veteran inside linebacker who is past his prime but who still has at least some value as a run defender and team leader? That could just as easily be a description of D’Qwell Jackson, whom the Colts cut earlier this offseason. So why would it then make sense for them to turn around and sign Harris, who perhaps might have slightly more to offer at this point in his career but who is pretty similar?
While Harris might be intriguing to some Colts fans because of his name recognition and past production, he doesn’t fit what Chris Ballard is trying to build in Indy. He’s not taking the ‘win now’ approach of signing a ton of veteran players, and he’s been very meticulous about which guys to bring in - with most of them being younger guys with potential and room to grow. After cutting D’Qwell Jackson earlier this offseason and after the Colts have seemingly placed an emphasis on speed and coverage abilities in their linebackers as well, I don’t think it would make much sense to bring David Harris in to add to the mix at inside linebacker. They have some interesting young guys with a nice mix of intriguing veterans they’ve brought in, and I think they should see what they have with those guys. It might be worthwhile to monitor the Harris situation, but I’m not sure it would fit what Ballard and the Colts are trying to do in rebuilding this defense.
Should the Colts be interested in David Harris?
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