Damon Harrison

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.

FA Rumors: Broncos QBs, Snacks, 49ers, Hali, Mebane

A look at the latest rumors as we draw closer to free agency:

  • The quarterback-needy Texans are likely to go after Brock Osweiler if he doesn’t re-sign with the Broncos, per CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora (Twitter link).
  • If Peyton Manning – whom Osweiler has backed up since entering the NFL in 2012 – returns for his age-40 season and the Broncos release him, the Texans and Rams could pursue the future Hall of Famer, writes Alex Marvez of FOX Sports. Should Manning elect against retirement, Denver is expected to cut the two-time Super Bowl champion by March 8 and save $19MM on its cap. A good portion of that money would go to linebacker Von Miller, who is looking for a deal similar to what Miami gave defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh last winter (six years, $114MM, with $60MM in guarantees), reports Marvez.
  • It’ll take a “major reversal” for Jets defensive tackle Damon Harrison to not reach the open market, according to La Canfora (Twitter link). “Snacks” stated earlier this month that he and the Jets were making progress toward a deal, but that no longer appears to be the case. The 27-year-old was Pro Football Focus’ top-ranked interior defender against the run last season (subscription required).
  • Passing along what he heard at the scouting combine, Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee lists several prospective free agents the 49ers are thought to be targeting. Guards Kelechi Osemele, Brandon Brooks, J.R. Sweezy, Richie Incognito and Ramon Foster; receivers Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu; cornerbacks Sean Smith, Trumaine Johnson and Janoris Jenkins; and running back Doug Martin could all be on the club’s radar.
  • The Chiefs are working hard to retain linebacker Tamba Hali, whom they’ll meet with later this week, reports La Canfora (Twitter link). Hali has so far spent his entire career in Kansas City, which used a first-round pick on him in 2006. The 32-year-old has piled up 86 sacks (6.5 last season) while missing just four regular-season games in his decade-long career.
  • Speaking of players whose careers have been spent in one place, defensive tackle Brandon Mebane hopes to extend his nine-year tenure with the Seahawks. “I’d love to be back out there in Seattle, finish my career in Seattle,” the 2007 third-rounder told 710 ESPN. However, Mebane added that he’ll probably visit other teams. Mebane’s status is one of many issues PFR addressed in its offseason preview of the Seahawks on Sunday. Click here to read it.

AFC East Rumors: Bills, Dolphins, Jets

Three of the AFC East’s four teams are in the news. Here’s the latest:

  • As free agency approaches, the Bills are working to retain their two best offensive linemen – left tackle Cordy Glenn and left guard Richie Incognitowrites CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora. We learned this afternoon that the Bills intend to place the franchise tag on Glenn if he hasn’t agreed to a long-term deal by the March 1 deadline. Contrary to a report from earlier this week, the Bills aren’t currently looking to extend contract-year quarterback Tyrod Taylor, per La Canfora, who adds that they’re instead focusing on locking up cornerback Stephon Gilmore. Moreover, they’ll release defensive end Mario Williams and running back Anthony Dixon, and could restructure the contracts of safety Corey Graham, corner Leodis McKelvin, and possibly defensive lineman Kyle Williams. With some of the cap space those moves would create, La Canfora expects the Bills to pursue free agent-to-be Bilal Powell. The 27-year-old running back played under Bills head coach Rex Ryan as a member of the Jets from 2011-14. Powell averaged a career-high 4.5 yards per carry on 70 attempts last season and added a personal-best 47 receptions.
  • The Dolphins want to rework the contract of defensive end Cameron Wake, according to La Canfora. The problem, he notes, is that Wake would likely match or exceed the $8.4MM he’s scheduled to make as a Dolphin next season if they release him and he reaches the open market. Thus, the 34-year-old lacks incentive to take a pay cut. Not surprisingly, then, talks between the Dolphins and Wake’s agent made no progress at the combine.
  • With two ex-Jets bigwigs in Buffalo (Ryan) and Miami (executive vice president of football operations Mike Tannenbaum), representatives of pending Jets free agents said at the combine that the Bills and Dolphins could be landing spots for their clients, according to Brian Costello of the New York Post. That seems to corroborate La Canfora’s report that the Bills will try to reel in Powell in free agency. Further, the Bills and Dolphins could go after Jets run-stuffing defensive tackle Damon Harrison if he hits the market, per Costello, though he notes that the teams’ lack of cap space might serve as roadblocks. Even so, Harrison could use those clubs as leverage to scare the Jets into meeting his demands.