Damon Harrison

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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC East Notes: Giants, Cowboys, Brown

With Landon Collins and Olivier Vernon out of the picture, the Giants‘ defense has plenty of needs. Second-year GM Dave Gettleman has also jettisoned Jason Pierre-Paul, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Eli Apple and Damon Harrison from the team since taking over. Collins’ reputation as a box safety, albeit one of the best in the NFL, looks to have played into the Giants’ reasoning for refusing to use an $11MM-plus franchise tag on him, with Ralph Vacchiano of SNY noting the team did not always believe the All-Pro defender was an adequate cover man. Gettleman considered the contracts handed out to both Pierre-Paul and Harrison as onerous, and Vacchiano adds neither Pro Bowl player was viewed as a plus locker room presence. That said, the Giants have one of the least talented defenses in the NFL, boasting deficiencies at nearly every spot going into free agency. It would seem that would be where Gettleman looks to improve in the next two months.

Here is more out of the Big Apple and the latest from the NFC East:

  • While the Giants already have two monster contracts on their offensive line now, having acquired Kevin Zeitler‘s $12MM-AAV deal, they are going to pursue a right tackle in free agency. Big Blue will “almost certainly” add a right tackle on the market, per Vacchiano, who adds former Gettleman draftee Daryl Williams may be a top target. Williams was a fourth-round Gettleman pick in 2015 but is coming off an injury-nullified season. The Giants tried to sign former Gettleman find Andrew Norwell last year, so Williams will be a name to monitor in the coming days.
  • Sean Lee‘s Cowboys restructure will slash his 2019 salary from $7MM to $3.5MM, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Although Lee has seen younger linebackers replace him as Dallas’ go-to second-level defenders, the Cowboys will keep the veteran around. One season remains on Lee’s contract.
  • If the Raiders are now the team to beat regarding Antonio Brown, the Eagles should not be completely discounted. Philadelphia is the other destination CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora is hearing in the Brown sweepstakes as of Saturday (Twitter link). The Eagles have been hard at work clearing cap space; they are north of $24MM now — before Michael Bennett‘s $6.2MM salary comes off their books. It would be interesting to see the team clear so much off its roster to add a player who has produced so much drama, but the Eagles have not been averse to splash moves in recent years.
  • Connected to a safety upgrade for many months, the Cowboys may opt to seek second-tier options at this position. Extensions for their homegrown standouts may price the Cowboys out of the high-end safeties on this year’s market, Josina Anderson of ESPN.com tweets. The Cowboys remain connected to Earl Thomas, and Richard Sherman said recently his former teammate would choose Dallas if the offers were equal. Another report confirmed no discount was coming. But they may well not end up being equal, complicating this long-rumored partnership. But plenty of safety help will be available next week.

Extra Points: Haley, Browns, Patriots, Kendricks, Seahawks, Harrison, Lions

Rumors of clashing egos within the Browns’ coaching staff have been swirling ever since HBO cameras picked up some internal disagreements on Hard Knocks, and coach Hue Jackson recently added fuel to the fire. After a pair of disappointing Browns losses, Jackson hinted he was going to take back more control of the offense, seemingly taking shots at offensive coordinator Todd Haley in the process.

But Haley is pushing back on reports of a feud, saying he and Jackson are on the “same page”, according to Pat McManamon of ESPN. It’s highly possible, if not likely, that Haley is just saying that to the media and that there actually is bad blood behind the scenes. Haley and Jackson have never seemed like a perfect match for the Browns, and tensions are high with everyone’s jobs in danger. Jackson is backing off his initial comments and expressing more confidence in Haley, McManamon writes, but it will still be something to monitor going forward, and firings could be imminent.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • In addition to working out former Raiders second round pick Obi Melifonwu today, the Patriots also had a pair of other players in for tryouts. They had “TE Ben Koyack (Notre Dame), S Dexter McCoil (Tulsa) in for free-agent workouts today”, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN (Twitter link). Koyack has been with the Jaguars the past few years, and caught the game winning touchdown in Jacksonville’s first playoff game last year.
  • Seahawks linebacker Mychal Kendricks has been suspended indefinitely by the league, and while he’s working to negotiate an agreement with the league office, there’s still no word on when he’ll be able to return. Coach Peter Carroll “says he has been in communication” with the league and while there’s been no “definitive word” they’re “hoping for more clarity early next week”, according to Bob Condotta of The Athletic (Twitter link). Kendricks was suspended due to being charged with insider trading, which led to his release from the Browns earlier this year.
  • Damon Harrison was traded from the Giants to the Lions earlier this week, and now we have more details on the trade. It was reported that Harrison was traded for a fifth round pick, but that pick is apparently conditional, according to veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer (Twitter link). Balzer doesn’t state what the conditions are, but it’s fair to assume they’re related to snaps or games played.

Giants Trade Damon Harrison To Lions

The Giants have agreed to trade defensive tackle Damon “Snacks” Harrison to the Lions, sources tell ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). In return, the Lions will send a fifth-round pick to New York. 

The Giants signed Snacks to a five-year, $46.25MM deal in 2016. Harrison, for the most part, has been as good as advertised – few can bottle up runners like he can, and he presently ranks as Pro Football Focus’ No. 6 ranked interior defensive lineman in the NFL. However, his salary is steep, he’s one-dimensional compared to other top defensive tackles in the NFL, and he only plays on about 55% of snaps.

The Giants’ new regime appears to be all-in on a rebuild after moving cornerback Eli Apple on Tuesday and Harrison on Wednesday. With his 30th birthday coming up in about a month, Harrison and his hefty salary did not factor into Dave Gettleman‘s vision of the future. By moving Snacks, the Giants will save $4.6MM this year. Between him and Apple, the G-Men took $5.7MM off of the books.

The Lions, meanwhile, pick up a defensive tackle who stuffs the run the way that Dikembe Mutumbo shut down the finger roll. For years, Snacks has ranked as one of the NFL’s best ground game stuffers, and he hasn’t missed a game since his rookie season with the Jets.

Through Week 7, the Lions have allowed 139.3 rushing yards per game, better than only the porous Broncos and Falcons defenses. With Harrison in the lineup, you can expect that to change in short order.

The Lions were forced to go out-of-house at defensive tackle this year and wound up signing Sylvester Williams and Dunkin’ Donuts franchise owner Ricky Jean-Francois in free agency. Neither player has set the world on fire, so head coach Matt Patricia won’t lose sleep over pulling either player from the starting lineup.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC East Notes: Cousins, Giants, JPP, Harrison

Washington general manager Scot McCloughan says that quarterback Kirk Cousins will be here “a long time,” as John Keim of ESPN.com writes. Of course, as of today, Cousins is still slated to play under the franchise tag for the 2016 season. For his part, Cousins acknowledged that extension talks will likely heat up as the July 15th deadline approaches, Tarik El-Bashir of CSNWashington.com tweets.

Washington can’t afford to lose Cousins and they also can’t really afford to franchise tag him for a second time at ~$24MM in 2017. If the team were to do that, more than 25% of their cap space would be dedicated to Cousins and pricey new addition Josh Norman.

While we wait to see how that plays out, here’s a look at the NFC East:

  • The Giants will likely move Jason Pierre-Paul around the defensive line this year, Dan Graziano of ESPN.com writes. JPP, who was re-signed this offseason on a one-year, $10MM+ deal, likely can’t line up as a full-time starter at right defensive end spot due to the state of his right hand. The two-time Pro Bowler could be moved inside to play defensive tackle on passing downs while seeking the bulk of his time at left defensive end. On the opposite bookend, the Giants will trot out free agent acquisition Olivier Vernon.
  • More from Graziano, who writes that run-stuffer Damon Harrison will team with Johnathan Hankins on early downs. While Snacks’ $9.5MM/year salary might seem high for a two-down player, the Giants firmly believe that he will benefit them on third downs by lengthening the distance their opponent has to go with his work on first and second downs. Giants opponents converted 47% of third-down opportunities in 2016, the highest figure in the league, so Big Blue needs Harrison to help set the tone.
  • Jordan Reed’s contract extension lets other Washington players know that they will get paid if they work hard and produce, Tarik El-Bashir of CSN Mid-Atlantic writes. Reed, a third-round pick in the 2013 draft, inked a five-year, $48.4MM deal that includes $22MM in guarantees. Reed set career highs in games played (14), receptions (87), receiving yards (952), and touchdowns (11) in 2015. “It’s a great message to send to the rest of the guys, man,” coach Jay Gruden said. “You work hard, you produce, good things will happen, and it did for Jordan. He’s a great kid and obviously we have high aspirations for him.”

Giants Sign Damon Harrison

THURSDAY, 3:57pm: The Giants’ deal with Harrison is official, as Dan Salomone of Giants.com writes.

WEDNESDAY, 2:07pm: It’s a five-year, $46.25MM deal for Harrison, per Rand Getlin of NFL.com (on Twitter). The deal is worth $9.25MM per year with $24MM guaranteed and $30MM over the first three years (link).

1:56pm: Snacks will get $24MM guaranteed on his deal and an average of $9MM per year, Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com tweets. The deal, presumably, is for at least four years and potentially five.

1:51pm: The Giants have reached agreement on a deal with nose tackle Damon Harrison, according to Jordan Raanan of the Star-Ledger. The former Jet will earn something in the neighborhood of $8-9MM per season on his new deal with Big Blue. "<strong

The Giants have been connected to Harrison this week as they look to beef up their defensive line. Harrison, who spent the first four years of his career with the Jets, was Pro Football Focus’ top ranked run defender in 2015.

Multiple teams were said to be competing to host Harrison on his first visit but it appears that the Giants have won out by signing him. We heard on Monday that while plenty of teams had interest, the Titans appeared to be the club most willing to meet Harrison‘s asking price. The Jets also wanted to retain their standout nose tackle, but given all the suitors in play, the price apparently got higher than they were comfortable with. Of course, the Jets have a few less dollars than they did last week after committing $15MM to Muhammad Wilkerson.

Harrison was ranked No. 8 on PFR’s Top 50 NFL Free Agents list for this offseason. Because he’s more of a run-stopping specialist than a pass rusher, Harrison had something of a ceiling on his earning potential, but he was still near the top of the list for any team in need of interior line help. As far as interior defensive linemen go, we had Harrison at No. 2, behind Malik Jackson but ahead of notables such as Ian Williams, Jaye Howard, Nick Fairley, Cedric Thornton, Haloti Ngata, Akiem Hicks, Terrance Knighton, and Mike DeVito.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Contract Details: Harrison, Benjamin, Massie

Here are some of the latest details on recently agreed-upon or signed contracts from around the NFL. All Twitter links are courtesy of Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle unless otherwise indicated…

NFC:

  • Damon Harrison, DT (Giants): Five years, $46.25MM. $24MM guaranteed. $8MM signing bonus (Twitter link).
  • Bobby Massie, T (Bears): Three years, $18MM. $6.5MM guaranteed. $1.5MM signing bonus. $2MM roster bonus due on March 14 (Twitter links).
  • Thad Lewis, QB (49ers): One year, $760K. Minimum salary benefit. $25K playing-time incentive. $428K split salary (Twitter link).

AFC:

  • Travis Benjamin, WR (Chargers): Four years, $24MM. $13MM guaranteed. $5MM signing bonus. $2.75MM salary for 2016 and $4.25MM salary for 2017 fully guaranteed (Twitter link).
  • Antonio Gates, TE (Chargers): Two years, $11MM. $6MM guaranteed. $1MM signing bonus (Twitter link).
  • Ramon Humber, LB (Patriots): One year, $885K. Minimum salary benefit. $25K signing bonus. $30K in per-game roster bonuses (Twitter link via Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald).

Free Agent Rumors: Browns, Harrison, Titans

The Browns have had a knack for stealing headlines in recent years, but that trend could come to a halt this offseason. New Browns executive vice president Sashi Brown is not looking to make a splash in free agency, various agents tell Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL.com (on Twitter). The Browns already lost out on one significant free agent target today when Marvin Jones signed a lucrative deal with the Lions.

Here are the latest free agent rumors:

  • There’s nothing brewing right now between the Titans and free agent defensive tackle Damon Harrison, Terry McCormick of TitanInsider.com tweets.
  • Safety Tashaun Gipson is a longshot for the Eagles but it’s not out of the question, Geoff Mosher of 97.5 The Fanatic (on Twitter) hears.
  • The Seahawks are working to bring back Brandon Mebane, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.
  • The Rams are in good position to bring back linebacker/safety Mark Barron, a league source tells Vincent Bonsignore of the Daily News (on Twitter).
  • The Jets are sniffing around the free agent tackle market and that could spell the end of Breno Giacomini in New York, Alex Marvez of FOX Sports tweets.

Giants Among Teams Pursuing Damon Harrison

The Giants are among the teams gunning for free agent nose tackle Damon Harrison, multiple sources tell Jordan Raanan of the Star-Ledger. Harrison, who spent the first four years of his career with the Jets, was Pro Football Focus’ top ranked run defender in 2015. Damon Harrison (vertical)

Multiple teams are competing to host Harrison on his first visit since they know it’ll give them a leg up on the competition, according to Rand Getlin of NFL.com (on Twitter). We heard on Monday that while plenty of teams have interest, the Titans appear to be the club most willing to meet Harrison‘s asking price. The Jets would love to retain their standout nose tackle, but given all the suitors expected to be in play, the price will be high. Of course, the Jets have a few less dollars than they did last week after committing $15MM to Muhammad Wilkerson.

Harrison is ranked No. 8 on PFR’s Top 50 NFL Free Agents list for this offseason. Because he’s more of a run-stopping specialist than a pass rusher, Harrison may have a ceiling on his earning potential, but he should be at the top of the list for any team in need of interior line help.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cole’s Latest: Harrison, Vernon, Mack, Ayers

With the NFL’s legal tampering period underway for 2016, Jason Cole of Bleacher Report has passed along several noteworthy free agent rumors. Let’s round up the highlights…

  • While plenty of teams will have interest, the Titans appear to be the club most willing to meet Damon Harrison‘s asking price, according to Cole (video link). The Jets would love to retain their standout nose tackle, but given all the suitors expected to be in play, the price will be high. That may be an issue for the Jets, who have already committed $15MM+ to Muhammad Wilkerson.
  • The Dolphins may ultimately decide to pull the transition tag they placed on defensive end Olivier Vernon last week, says Cole (video link). As Cole explains, if the Dolphins decide not to match an offer sheet for Vernon, the pass rusher wouldn’t factor into the compensatory pick formula for 2017, since only departing unrestricted free agents can earn teams extra picks. So if Miami senses the bidding on Vernon will be too high, the team may surrender its right to match an offer, in order to regain the $12MM+ in cap room and line itself up for a mid-round 2017 comp pick.
  • Free agent center Alex Mack has generated “extensive interest” from the Falcons, per Cole (video link). Cole says the Jaguars, who signed Mack to an offer sheet in 2014, don’t have as much interest this time around, and adds that the Rams have expressed some interest, but aren’t expected to be serious contenders.
  • The “rumor late last week” was that defensive end Robert Ayers was looking for $10MM per year from the Giants, tweets Cole. While it’s possible that was Ayers’ starting point in negotiations, it seems extremely unlikely that he’d actually land that kind of salary. Ayers had a strong year in 2015, but it’s the first time he had more than 5.5 sacks in a season, and he’ll be turning 31 this year.
  • Cole confirms (video link) that the Raiders and 49ers will both be in the mix for the top cornerbacks on the free agent market, including Sean Smith and Janoris Jenkins.