NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — David Harris was rewarded by the Jets for his patience.
The playmaking linebacker signed a new four-year deal Tuesday night after Harris originally looked into an extension last year. According to multiple reports, the contract is worth $36 million, with just over $29 million guaranteed.
That came after Harris waited as general manager Mike Tannenbaum took care of other players first and gave out big money. Harris signed his franchise tender before the NFL lockout began in March, but agent Brian Mackler said they tore up the tag and worked out a completely new contract.
“Every player takes it differently,” Harris said. “Coming from a humble background, a blue-collar background, I knew that Mike would come through on his promise and I just wanted to focus on football and not focus on the contract and the business side of it. I just want to go out there and help my teammates win games and I’m glad that it’s all done with.”
Mackler added that the deal includes the highest amount of guaranteed money for an inside linebacker on a four-year contract. Carolina’s Jon Beason recently signed a five-year, $50 million extension with $25 million guaranteed, according to published reports.
Harris thanked the team “for allowing me to play my career out as a New York Jet.”
After Tuesday morning’s walkthrough, Harris said he expected an extension to be worked out soon. A few hours later, he had the new deal. Harris didn’t practice, Mackler said, just to be cautious.
He was the last of the Jets’ “Core Four” players – Harris, Darrelle Revis, Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson – to get new contracts.
“We’re really glad that he’ll be here for a really long time,” Tannenbaum said. “From a GM’s perspective, it’s a dream to have someone like David, not only what he does on the field, but off the field and how he conducts himself in such a professional way. When you have those types of people, you do everything you can to make sure they never leave your locker room.”
The 27-year-old Harris was drafted in the second round out of Michigan in 2007 after the Jets traded up to get him. He became a starter after the Jets traded Jonathan Vilma before the 2008 season. He has 428 tackles, 14 1/2 sacks, two interceptions and five forced fumbles in four seasons, and is one of the keys to coach Rex Ryan’s aggressive defense as he calls the signals for the unit.
“He’s a real traditional three-down linebacker and even when we play all of our substitution packages, going back to our playoff game against the Patriots when (Ryan) had 11 DBs up for the game, David played so much,” Tannenbaum said. “He can blitz, cover, (is) good in between the tackles. I can say all these good things now that we signed him.”
NOTES: The Jets also signed free agent safety DaJuan Morgan, a former third-round pick of Kansas City who also has played for Indianapolis. … Ryan announced that first-round pick Muhammad Wilkerson would be a starter on the defensive line, with veteran Shaun Ellis still unsigned. … S Jim Leonhard, recovering from a broken leg, is practicing in individual drills and progressing nicely. He’s expected to be ready for the regular-season opener, but Ryan said Leonhard won’t field punts in games as he has in previous seasons. … After restructuring his contract to help the team free up some space under the salary cap, LB Bart Scott isn’t practicing yet because of league rules regarding players with new deals. He’ll get to suit up on Thursday, but won’t be able to put on pads until three days later as part of the restrictions. “So we’ll just be going through the motions again,” he said, smiling. “I’m still locked out.” … Former NFL defensive lineman Sean Gilbert, Revis’ uncle, was added to the Jets’ coaching staff as an intern.
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