Even though we aren't sure exactly how this offseason is going to unfold with the ongoing labor negotiations it was good to see the New York Jets play it safe and franchise inside linebacker David Harris. The Jets haven't been shy about expressing their desire to keep Harris, who is the only member of their "core four" who didn't receive a long-term deal prior to this season. This decision won't preclude them from giving him the big deal he deserves but simply buys them more time and doesn't allow the risk of him hitting the open market.
Harris will be paid well this year if a contract isn't agreed upon by September, as he will receive the average of the top five linebackers in the NFL for this upcoming year. Judging from how he handled his contract situation last season, it is nearly impossible to see Harris having an issue with being the Jets franchise player.
Despite not posting monster stats in 2010 (99 tackles, three sacks, one forced fumble), Harris was voted Team MVP by his teammates and remains the Jets second most reliable and consistent defender behind Darrelle Revis. The Jets appropriately made retaining him their top priority this offseason and he will eventually get taken care of, hopefully by the start of the season, with a long-term contract.
It will now be interesting to see, who the Jets shift their attention to next: Santonio Holmes or Antonio Cromartie. They still have their transition tag to use and have expressed in interest in bringing both players back.
On Monday I asked which New York Jets or New York Giants player the respective teams should use their franchise tag on. At least for the New York Jets, today we know the answer.
The Jets have placed the franchise tag on linebacker David Harris, voted the team's MVP in 2010 after collecting 99 tackles and three sacks. Harris made $550,000 in 2010 in the final year of his rookie contract. Per numbers that were released Monday, the franchise tag means Harris could make $10 million in 2011.
"It’s a procedural move that they had to do," Mackler said, "based on the CBA climate that we’re in. This, in no way, precludes us from our ultimate goal, which is to get David signed to a long-term contract with the Jets."
There are questions, of course, as to the validity of the tag. Its use will have to be approved by the NFL Players Association as part of the current negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement. Under existing rules, however, teams have only until Friday to determine whether or not to use the tag on a potential free agent.