Tommie Harris was one of the most disruptive defensive tackles in the NFL during his first five seasons with the Chicago Bears. Over the last two seasons, however, his production has dipped, forcing the Bears to move in another direction at the position. Rumors suggest the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts are looking to bring in Harris to filled a more limited role.
Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald provided an update last night:
"BREAKING: The Patriots have flown in ex-Bears DT Tommie Harris and will be working him out tomorrow, a source close to Harris said."
As most football fans have come to understand, Bill Belichick usually gets what he wants. If Harris has an impressive showing at his workout this afternoon, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him sign a contract with the Patriots before the end of the day.
The Patriots are moving away from a basic 3-4 defense and toward more of a hybrid 4-3 scheme. This possible signing illustrates that shift in philosophy. Harris wouldn't fit into a 3-4, especially at this stage of his career, which is why the Patriots and Colts are the front-runners.
Whereas the Patriots ranked 11th in the NFL against the run in 2010, the Colts finished 25th. Defensive tackle has long been a position of need for Indianapolis, but they have yet to find two consistent producers to fill the void.
With the loss of Daniel Muir to the St. Louis Rams, the Colts' tackle depth has been depleted even more. Antonio Johnson and Fili Moala are the current starters, but they would get competition from Eric Foster and rookie Drake Nevis. Unimpressive to say the least.
Although Harris wouldn't be able to play the same amount of snaps as he did early in his career, he would undeniably be the most talented player at the position on the Colts roster.
Don't think the Patriots don't know that. If Belichick can add another talented player to his squad while keeping him away from the team's fierce rivals, he's more than likely going to make it happen.
That said, if Belichick lets him walk away from Patriots camp without a deal, that should be a signal to the Colts that he might not be worth the money.
That's key because the Colts don't have a lot of free cash. Between re-signing Peyton Manning and ensuring most of the key contributors from last year's team return, the Colts will be right up against the cap.
At the end of the day, Indianapolis has a bigger need for Harris and should do whatever they can to wrestle him away from the Patriots. As of now though, New England looks like the probable destination for the 28-year-old veteran.