Done deal. On Sunday, Vikings safety Anthony Harris announced that he will sign his franchise tender (Twitter link).
“Although it has been a strange offseason, time spent in isolation with family has been refreshing and energizing. This is just one step in god’s plan for me and my family,” Harris wrote. “I will let my agents and the Vikings work towards long term certainty in Minnesota, but I am excited to be back for the 2020 season.”
Harris, 29 in June, tallied 60 tackles and eleven passes defended in 2019, plus six interceptions (tied for the NFL lead). Beyond that, the advanced metrics have positioned him as one of the league’s best safeties over the last two years. He’s now hoping to parlay that success into a major payday for the remainder of his prime seasons.
The franchise tag for safeties this year pays $11.4MM. That’s not chump change, but there are now five safeties in the league making upwards of $14MM per season. Naturally, that’s what Harris and his reps are eyeing in a new contract.
The Vikings have been keen on keeping their brightest stars. They’ve also overhauled their secondary this offseason, moving on from cornerbacks Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes, and Mackensie Alexander, plus safeties Jayron Kearse and Andrew Sendejo. Still, the Vikings have rejected trade inquiries on Harris, kept him with the tag, and backed him publicly.
“I know we have some big changes in the secondary,” Spielman said earlier this year. “One of the things — not only is Anthony Harris a great football player for us, and great in the community — but by us being able to franchise Anthony, we do have the safeties pretty well set, knowing that we’re going to have a lot of young corners we’re going to have to line up and play with.”
Per the terms of the franchise tag, the two sides have until the July deadline to hammer out an extension. If no deal is reached by then, they’ll have to wait until after the 2020 season to resume talks.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.