31-Year-Old Veteran Was Thought To Be Destined To Join Ryan And The Bills

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — David Harris isn’t going anywhere.

One of the Jets’ best defensive players for the last eight years, Harris looked as though he was heading to free agency. But that was before new general manager Mike Maccagnan signed the 31-year-old linebacker to a reported three-year, $21.5 million contract on Friday.

Harris, who is expected to get $15 million guaranteed, was thought to be high on Buffalo’s offseason wish list, considering the relationship he has with new Bills head coach Rex Ryan. However, Maccagnan, who replaced John Idzik following the Jets’ awful 4-12 season in 2014, struck before Harris could go on any free agency visits.

The deal will become official on Tuesday at 4 p.m., when the new NFL season officially begins.

In a statement posted on the team’s website, Harris said he “could not be happier” to continue his career with the Jets.

“After hearing the plans and vision of coach Bowles and Mike Maccagnan,” Harris said, “there was no doubt I wanted to return, help win a Super Bowl with the Green & White, and retire a Jet.”

The move came just hours after the Jets reportedly traded a fifth round draft pick to the Chicago Bears for five-time All-Pro wide receiver Brandon Marshall.

A former second round pick out of Michigan, Harris, nicknamed “The Hitman” by his teammates, has had a remarkably consistent, yet unspectacular eight-year stint with the Jets, routinely registering more than 100 tackles in a season while amassing a total of 30 sacks, but he has never made a Pro Bowl.

That said, though, even if he’s not quite the player he once was, the Jets could have ill-afforded to lose Harris’ ability and experience. They are very thin at linebacker and are expected to try to sign another veteran at the position to put with Harris and Demario Davis.

For his career, Harris has 885 tackles and has played in 123 of 128 games.

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