With Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson signed and the media circus around Darrelle Revis’ holdout, little is heard about the fourth member of the Jets “Core Four”… David Harris.
Harris is easily the Jets' best linebacker, and if Revis is considered the best player on the defense, then Harris is the second best.
He was a beast in 2009 leading the Jets in tackles with 127 (81 solo, 46 assisted), had 5.5 sacks, two INTs and was voted Second Team All-Pro by the AP.
Harris’ four-year, $3.5 million deal will expire at the end of the 2010 season, making him a free agent. It would seem that Harris is a no-brainer for the Jets to give an extension before his current contract is up. But Harris is in an unfortunately unique position and has found himself as the odd man out of the "Core Four."
In an interview with the Newark Star-Ledger, Harris’ agent Brian Mackler said, "We understand the ramifications of an uncapped year and no CBA for a second-round pick. As we stand right now, we can't do a contract without doing a structure David and I are comfortable with."
The 30 percent rule is also working against Harris. Like I said, an unfortunately unique position, basically, he’s in a catch-22.
He could’ve have chose to hold out, but that would make no sense whatsoever since he has no leverage.
On the other hand, he could have went to the Jets and tried to hammer out an extension before his current contract expires. But due to the stipulations regarding an uncapped year, the CBA, the 30 percent rule and his status as a second-round pick, he would probably end up with a contract structured much like Ferguson’s guaranteed money in future incentives purely based on skill and with no protection against injury.
In the end, Harris’ best option is to play out the remainder of his rookie contract, pray he doesn’t get seriously injured, and go into negotiations with the Jets as a free agent in 2011.
Of course there is the potential of a lockout in 2011. If that happens, Harris will have to wait until 2012 for his payday.