Damon Harrison

Lions Extend DT Damon Harrison

The Lions have reached agreement on a one-year contract extension with defensive tackle Damon Harrison, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The extra year will keep him under contract with Detroit through 2021 and is worth $11MM. Harrison will collect $12MM guaranteed from 2019-2020, per Schefter.

Harrison, 30, had been asking the Lions for a new contract since at least March, and Detroit seemed open to the idea from the start. “Snacks” skipped all non-mandatory Detroit practice sessions during the summer, but showed up for training camp at the end of July and was activated off the non-football injury list last week.

NFL players rarely earn (or even seek) extensions with two years remaining on their current deals, but Harrison is an immensely valuable part of the Lions defense. Detroit acquired Harrison from the Giants at the 2018 trade deadline in exchange for a fifth-round pick, and he started 10 games for the Lions down the stretch.

Harrison posted 50 and 3.5 sacks for the Lions while grading as the NFL’s third-best interior defender behind only Aaron Donald and Fletcher Cox, per Pro Football Focus. PFF ranked Harrison as the league’s single-best run-stopping defensive tackle, and as Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets, Harrison has led the all NFL interior defenders in tackles in each of the past four seasons.

Harrison was scheduled to earn $6.75MM and $9MM in 2019 and 2020, respectively. At present, it’s unclear how or if the Lions will adjust those amounts, simply give Harrison a signing bonus, or use some other financial method to reward the veteran defensive tackle.

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Lions Activate Damon Harrison

The Lions will take defensive tackle Damon Harrison off the active/NFI list on Thursday, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter). It’s a promising sign for a Lions defense that badly needs help up front. 

Harrison has been staying away from Lions camp in an effort to secure a new deal, but he is bringing his holdout to an end. The seventh-year pro, presumably, will continue to push for a new deal. For now, he’s got two seasons to go on the five-year, $46.2MM contract he inked with the Giants in 2016. There’s no guaranteed money left, however, and that’s likely the sticking point for the run-stuffer.

The Lions acquired the former All-Pro nose tackle for a fifth-round pick in October of last year. Harrison, 30, forfeited his $250K workout bonus by skipping OTAs and may be subject to roughly $89K in fines for missing mandatory minicamp.

Both Harrison and Darius Slay, each represented by Drew Rosenhaus, are pursuing new contracts. Recently, Slay also reported to the club.

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Damon Harrison To Report To Lions Camp

In his first offseason with the Lions, Damon Harrison skipped all of the team’s activities this year. The contract-seeking defensive tackle, though, will not run the risk of incurring fines for training camp absences.

Snacks plans to report to Lions camp, according to NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter). While a new deal doesn’t sound imminent, the seventh-year lineman will show when the Lions begin their workouts Thursday. Harrison has been angling for a new deal for months.

Harrison has two seasons remaining on the five-year, $46.2MM contract the Giants authorized in 2016. No guaranteed money remains, however. The Lions acquired the former All-Pro nose tackle for a fifth-round pick. Harrison, 30, forfeited his $250K workout bonus by skipping OTAs and is subject to roughly $89K in fines for missing mandatory minicamp.

Both Harrison and Darius Slay, each represented by Drew Rosenhaus, are pursuing new contracts. Slay’s deal also runs through 2020. Teams are generally not keen on renegotiating deals with more than a year remaining, so it will be interesting to see how these key Detroit defenders play this as Lions camp gets going.

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Latest On Lions’ Slay, Harrison

The Lions are set to meet with agent Drew Rosenhaus to discuss the contracts of cornerback Darius Slay and defensive tackle Snacks Harrison, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. Both players skipped voluntary and mandatory work this offseason in an effort to secure new deals. 

It’s a tricky situation for the Lions – both players are under contract through 2020, so the team is likely fearful of setting a precedent of addressing contracts with two years remaining. Still, they have $23MM in cap space to work with and these are arguably the two most important players on the defensive side of the ball.

Slay is scheduled to make base salaries of $12MM this year and $10MM in 2020, with per-game roster bonuses totaling $250K each season. Harrison, meanwhile, is on the books for $6.75MM this year and $9MM next year. Both players forfeited workout bonuses of $250K by staying away from the team this offseason and incurred fines of ~$89K by skipping minicamp.

Harrison played in 17 games last season since he was traded before the Giants had their bye week but after the Lions already had their off week. A 2016 first-team All-Pro, Harrison had 81 tackles and 3.5 sacks in 2018.

Slay has spent his entire career with the Lions, and he’s earned Pro Bowl nods in each of the past two seasons. While his 2017 campaign was hard to match statistically, Slay had a solid 2018 with 43 tackles, 17 passes defended, and three interceptions in 15 games (15 starts). Pro Football Focus ranked Slay 23rd among 112 eligible cornerbacks.

Some veterans are scheduled to report to camp on Thursday with the full Lions team due for camp on Wednesday July 24.

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Lions’ Damon Harrison To Skip Camp

The Lions will be without two of their best defenders for this week’s mandatory minicamp. Defensive tackle Damon Harrison has decided to stay home, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. This comes on the heels of cornerback Darius Slay taking a similar stand

Both Harrison and Slay abstained from voluntary offseason workouts throughout this spring, but this is a sign that they are serious about getting contract adjustments. Snacks, like Slay, could be fined roughly $89K for skipping the minicamp.

Harrison has two years to go on the four-year extension he inked with the Giants in 2016. He’s slated to make $6.75MM in base pay this year before collecting $9MM in 2020. Ultimately, it will come down to a game of chicken – Harrison has already coughed up most of his $250K bonus by skipping voluntary practices, and the fines will only get steeper from here.

Interestingly, Harrison played in 17 games last season since he was traded before the Giants had their bye week but after the Lions already had their’s. A 2016 first-team All-Pro, Harrison had 81 tackles and 3.5 sacks in 2018.

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Latest On Darius Slay, Damon Harrison

We don’t know if Lions cornerback Darius Slay has explicitly asked the club for a new contract like defensive tackle Damon Harrison has, but we do know that neither player is taking part in Detroit’s OTAs. GM Bob Quinn has said that Harrison’s absence is not related to his contract, but that seems unlikely, and Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press writes that Slay and Harrison are indubitably angling for new deals.

Birkett goes on to examine the dilemma that Quinn faces in those negotiations, if he chooses to open negotiations at all. Both players have two years remaining on their current contracts, and teams are loath to extend contracts that have more than one year left. Plus, Slay is 28 and Harrison is 30, so while the defensive standouts have some quality play left in them, the Lions do not want to fork over big money for declining performance.

On the other hand, the Lions cannot afford a repeat of their disappointing 2018 season, and if they believe keeping Slay and Harrison happy financially will ensure their continued strong play, then they may be willing to talk. Then again, it may be just as likely that the players will be more motivated to play well if they are still trying to land one last big contract.

After all, Slay and Harrison have already forfeited $250K workout bonuses by staying away, and Birkett believes that neither player is likely to hold out into the regular season, when the real fines start to accumulate (though both Slay and Harrison are represented by Drew Rosenhaus, so all options are theoretically on the table). As such, the Lions could cross their fingers and hope that Slay and Harrison report to training camp, soldier through the regular season, and revisit negotiations in 2020. Alternatively, since both players are now underpaid relative to their peers, but not dramatically so, the team could add a pay bump or an incentive package to their current deals without tacking on additional years.

Interestingly, Harrison himself took to Twitter yesterday and said that major news is coming soon, so we’ll have to wait and see exactly what he’s referring to.

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NFC Notes: Kupp, Rudolph, Lions, Eagles

Rams wideout Cooper Kupp tore his ACL back in mid-November, and the team is eyeing a Week 1 return for the 25-year-old. Kupp participated in individual drills during the Rams’ organized team activities on Monday, and he told reporters that he feels better each week.

“It’s been a long process for sure,” Kupp told ESPN’s Lindsey Thiry. “I’ve been doing what I can to get back.

“I can’t predict how I’m going to feel even a week from now. But the way that things are going, I’m happy with the way that things are trending. Each week there’s progress.”

While Kupp wouldn’t give a definitive target date for his return, coach Sean McVay told reporters said the team is hopeful he’ll be ready to go for the season opener.

“He’s like a kid standing on the sidelines that just wants to grab a ball and go play,” McVay said. “He’s one of those guys that’s right on track with where we want him to be.”

The former third-rounder followed a standout rookie campaign with a solid 2018 season. Kupp finished the year with 40 receptions for 566 yards and six scores in eight games.

Let’s check out some more notes from around the NFC…

  • While there’s no guarantee that he’ll be with the Vikings come the start of the season, tight end Kyle Rudolph told NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero that he’d be attending his team’s OTAs (Twitter link). We learned last week that the organization had offered the veteran a five-year extension, although there hasn’t been a lot of progress with negotiations. There were rumblings that the team could even look to move on from Rudolph after selecting Irv Smith Jr. in the second round of last month’s draft.
  • A pair of veterans won’t be attending Lions OTAs. Coach Matt Patricia told Justin Rogers of The Detroit News that nose tackle Damon Harrison and cornerback Darius Slay wouldn’t be attending the voluntary workouts (Twitter link). “Right now we are – it’s voluntary as that part of the season is concerned,” Patricia said (via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press). “Those two guys are not here. You will not see them at the practice today, but we fully expect that this time of the year, guys that are here, guys that are not. That’s totally fine. We’re working with the guys that are out there.” Both Harrison and Slay have two years remaining on their current deals, and both players are represented by agent Drew Rosenhaus.
  • Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins isn’t attending his team’s OTAs, tweets NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo. As ESPN’s Adam Schefter points out on Twitter, the absence is notable because Jenkins is “one of the NFL’s most-respected players.” The defensive back is presumably seeking a new contract, although his current deal doesn’t expire until the end of the 2020 season. Jenkins’ $8.75MM average annual salary still ranks in the top-10 at the position. The 31-year-old earned his third Pro Bowl nod last season.
  • Chris Long played alongside a number of talented defensive linemen with the Eagles this past season, leading to him appearing in a modest 59.1% of the team’s defensive plays. The veteran acknowledged that his diminishing role played a part in his decision to retire. “Philadelphia is where I wanted to play a couple more years,” Long told Peter King of Football Morning in America. “I love Philadelphia. But as a player I learned the most important thing to me is Sunday, and having a chance to be a big part of it. It seemed like player-coach was kind of the role that was going to be carved out for me—maybe playing 10, 12, 15 plays a game. I’m a rhythm player. I need to set people up, I need to be in the flow of the game. If I sit on the bench for three series, I can’t get rhythm, and I’ll get cold and maybe I’ll hurt myself. Some people think that’s great—play less and you won’t get hurt. Man, I want to play ball. In Philadelphia, it didn’t seem there was much of a chance to compete there. But they were honest with me the whole time. I appreciate the honesty.”

North Rumors: Browns, Duke, Lions, Snacks

Although Browns running back Duke Johnson has requested a trade, and Cleveland is believed to have shopped him, there’s seemingly no guaranteed he will be moved, as head coach Freddie Kitchens indicated to Tony Grossi of ESPN.com“Duke’s under contract. I’ve said this for a month now, I don’t know where all this trade talk started happening,” said Kitchens. “People just assumed we would trade him because we signed another good football player [Kareem Hunt]. I like good football players, and I like as many as I can get.

“At this point in time, him asking for a trade doesn’t matter to me. He’s a Cleveland Brown. Duke’s the type of the guy who’s going to show up and he’s going to do his job and he’s going do his job well. That’s all I can ask for as a coach. His demands, I’m not impacted by that one bit.”

Hunt is suspended for the first eight games of the 2019 season, so the Browns will need a back to play behind starter Nick Chubb. Johnson, 25, is under contract through 2021 thanks to the three-year, $15.6MM extension he signed last summer. While he handled only 40 carries a year ago, Johnson managed 47 catches and was one of the NFL’s most efficient receiving backs, per Football Outsiders.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two North divisions:

  • Defensive tackle Damon Harrison isn’t participating in the Lions‘ offseason program, but his absence isn’t related to his request for a new contact, general manager Bob Quinn told Justin Rogers of the Detroit News. “The offseason program is voluntary,” Quinn said. “We have different guys, in different stages and different things in their lives, just like we have every year. So, Damon hasn’t been here the last couple of weeks, but we’ve communicated with him, talked to him multiple times and I’m sure we’ll see him here soon.” Harrison, whom the Lions acquired from the Giants last year in exchange for a fifth-round pick, has two years remaining on his current deal, with cap charges north of $7MM in each season.
  • The Ravens were attempting to sign Arizona defensive tackle P.J. Johnson to an undrafted free agent deal when he was selected by the Lions with the 229th overall pick, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “It was kind of funny,” Johnson said. “I tried to be as polite as possible,” Johnson said, “but get off fast: ‘Excuse me, but the Lions are calling. I’ve got to go.’ ” Baltimore did not have a selection after No. 197, so the club would have had to trade back up (using 2020 capital) in order to land Johnson.
  • Miami defensive tackle Gerald Willis surprisingly went undrafted before reportedly inking a UDFA deal with the Ravens, and his fall was likely caused by a few off-field issues, as Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic writes. Willis allegedly got into an altercation with Skyler Mornhinweg (son of ex-Ravens offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg) before being dismissed at Florida, while some former Miami coaches also bad-mouthed Willis, per Zrebiec. The current Hurricanes staff, however, praised Willis.

Lions Open To New Deal For Snacks Harrison

Damon Harrison wants a new contract from the Lions, and he just might get it. Lions GM Bob Quinn says the club plans to discuss the matter with agent Drew Rosenhaus, though a fresh deal for Snacks is not necessarily No. 1 on the team’s to-do list.

It’s something that I got to talk to (agent) Drew (Rosenhaus) this week (about), and going into the future,” Quinn said (via Justin Rogers of the Detroit News). “Not something that I need to do right now. My priority right now is the draft. We got another month or so before the draft is here, so that’s something that we’ll probably talk about in May or June.”

Harrison, 30, has two years left on his current deal. Typically, teams explore extensions with players when they are one year away from free agency, but Harrison could be an exception after he delivered for the Lions’ D. For now, he’s slated to carry cap hits of $7MM in 2019 and $9.25MM in 2020, with no guaranteed money left on his pact.

For the Lions, a new deal could give them an opportunity to smooth out Harrison’s cap hit in the coming years. It would also keep one of their top defensive players happy, which would be a good idea after Harrison helped them to average just 3.76 yards per carry to opposing teams in 2018.

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Damon Harrison Asks Lions For New Contract

Damon Harrison is coming off his first season as a member of the Lions, and he’s looking for a raise. The player also known as ‘Snacks’ has approached Detroit’s front office about getting a new deal, a source told Kyle Meinke of MLive.com

Harrison had been with the Giants the past several seasons, but New York traded him to the Lions at the trade deadline this past year for a fifth round pick. A defensive tackle, Harrison is widely regarded as an elite stuffer. Last year he received a 92.1 grade from Pro Football Focus, their third-highest grade for any defensive lineman.

Interestingly, Harrison played in 17 games last season since he was traded before the Giants had their bye week but after the Lions already had their’s. A 2016 first-team All-Pro, Harrison had 81 tackles and 3.5 sacks last year. Originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the Jets back in 2012, Harrison has two years left on his deal.

Harrison is set to make a $6.75MM base salary in 2019 and $9MM in 2020, and apparently feels he’s underpaid. He’s still only 30, and wants to be locked up longterm by the Lions. Detroit might be hesitant to negotiate with him still having two years left on the deal, but Harrison played great down the stretch for the Lions and could be worth it as Matt Patricia continues to rebuild his defense.

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