The New York Jets are expected to make a competitive offer to retain DT Damon Harrison, according to NFL Network's Kimberly Jones.
Two weeks ago, Harrison, who is expected to hit free agency, told Siriux XM Radio he would love to return to the Jets, but understands there's a business aspect to negotiations as well.
"I think we should be able to get something done," Harrison told Sirius XM Radio. "If not, I understand it's a business. They'd do what's best for the team on the business side, as well as I. ... But all hopes point towards me coming back here which I definitely want to do."
That said, CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora said it would take a "major reversal" for Harrison not to hit the open market.
The 27-year-old Harrison has played in 53 games since joining the Jets in 2012 and has played in all 16 games in each of the past three seasons. He recorded 72 combined tackles, half a sack and one forced fumble in 2015.
For an undrafted free agent who signed with the Jets in 2012, Harrison would be doing himself a huge disservice if he didn't allow himself to explore the open market. He has been an important part of what the defensive interior did for the Jets over the last three-plus seasons, but this is his best shot at the contract of a lifetime.
I can't exactly say what the market will shape up to be for Harrison, but I would imagine the Jets will want to keep his per-year average at or below $5 million per season against their cap considering they are franchising Muhammad Wilkerson and have a deal pending with Ryan Fitzpatrick. With a glut of cap space and many teams facing a lack of talent to stop the run, I would be surprised some team doesn't give Harrison around $7 million per year to help plug their defense. It would be hard to expect Harrison to stay in New York if the money is that much different, but all we can do now is see how the beginning of free agency goes for Harrison before we know for sure whether he will be back with the Jets in 2016. If you asked me to bet, the best offer won't be in New York, and the contract will be compelling enough for Harrison to go elsewhere.
As for the Jets? If there is any consolation here it would be two things. First, they should get a solid compensatory pick for Harrison if/when he signs elsewhere for next year's draft. The second thing is that this NFL Draft looks to be loaded with defensive talent, especially along the defensive line. The Jets might be able to draft a player in the later rounds to develop into another run-stopping force to play alongside the Jets powerhouse line.