The New York Jets already said goodbye to longtime veterans Nick Mangold and Darrelle Revis during the offseason. Linebacker David Harris is the next mainstay who will be shown the door.
The Jets are planning to release Harris after 10 seasons with the organization, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Harris was in the final year of his contract and the team will save $6.5 million by releasing him. He was the last player remaining from Eric Mangini’s regime from 2006-08.
A second-round pick in the 2007 NFL Draft, Harris had played in 121 straight games for the Jets before a hamstring injury snapped his streak and forced him to miss New York’s Week 6 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Harris had shown slight signs of regression during his 10th professional season. He failed to record more than 100 total tackles for the first time since 2011 with only 94 total takedowns.
Harris’ departure opens up a starting job on the inside that will likely be filled by Demario Davis, who was re-acquired by the Jets in a trade with the Cleveland Browns earlier this month. Davis spent his first four seasons with New York before joining the Browns last offseason. He started 48 games alongside Harris during his final three years in New York and started 15 games for the Browns last season. Apparently, Davis’ arrival made Harris expendable.
New York’s starting linebackers will likely feature Davis and 2016 first-round pick Darron Lee on the inside, with Lorenzo Mauldin and Jordan Jenkins on the edge.
The Jets have now released four players in the past two years who could eventually be inducted into the franchise’s ring of honor. Harris, Mangold, Revis and former left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson all will go down as some of the organization’s best players. Harris, 33, entered the summer as the longest-tenured Jet on the roster, but that honor now goes to long-snapper Tanner Purdum, who is entering his eighth season in New York.
But as the Jets have shown frequently this offseason, there’s no time for sentimentality in the NFL.