LB David Harris had 95 tackles in 15 games for the Jets this season, which was his 10th with the team.
The 32-year-old had just 0.5 sacks in 2016 after racking up 4.5 in 2015 and 6.0 in 2014.
His cap hit next season is $6.5 million, after which he is eligible for free agency.
So, should he stay or should he go?
Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter
Harris has been dependable over the last decade, rarely missing a snap, but he missed his first game since 2008 in the blowout loss to Arizona. Will the Jets keep him around for one more year or start to look ahead to a future with younger players manning that position?
The case for retaining Harris:
- Releasing him will not give rise to a dead money charge, creating a cap saving of $6.5 million.
- He is another experienced and a respected figure in the locker room on a team desperate for some veteran leaders to step up.
- His heir apparent, Darron Lee, will perhaps benefit from having Harris as a mentor for one more year.
- The team has always seemed to struggle whenever he's missed time in the past, so it will be a big adjustment for them to lose him altogether.
The case for letting him go:
- His statistical production is starting to drop off. His 95 tackles represented his lowest total since 2010 and his 0.5 sacks was a career low.
- While the Jets need leadership, Harris is more of a quiet lead-by-example type player than the fiery motivator they perhaps need.
- The Jets need to transition towards Lee being the one who wears the headset 100 percent of the time -- a process that is already underway and that might be delayed if Harris remains on the team.
- Harris is already 32 years old and therefore unlikely to be part of the team's future when they're ready to contend.
As the Jets are not expected to be a contender, you can make the argument that paying a player like Harris is a luxury that a team with so many longer-term needs cannot afford. However, there may be benefits to keeping Harris around if he can be part of the effort to improve the locker room culture and aid Lee in his development.
Harris is a player who impressed me with his effort all year, even when others were apparently not giving 100 percent, so I would keep him on the basis he's the type of character the Jets need to build around. I wouldn't anticipate him taking a pay cut, but if possible, that would potentially make retaining him even more attractive.
Next up: The final installment in this series summarizes the more straightforward keep/dump decisions on the roster.