Damon Harrison

Cowboys, Dontari Poe Discussing Deal

Dontari Poe may have a landing spot soon. The veteran defensive tackle is in discussions with the Cowboys on a deal, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets, adding that a contract could be finalized by the end of the day.

In their hunt for defensive tackle help, the Cowboys are also examining the likes of Ndamukong Suh, Damon Harrison and Mike Pennel, NFL.com’s Jane Slater adds (on Twitter). The Cowboys lost Maliek Collins in free agency last week but already made a deal to sign Gerald McCoy. A Poe addition would make this a high-profile interior line and make for an interesting reunion for players who spent last season on Carolina’s defensive front.

The Panthers did not pick up Poe’s 2020 option, sending him to free agency. This Cowboys are the first team to surface as interested in the former first-round pick. A Pro Bowler with the Chiefs back in the 2013-14 seasons, Poe played the past two seasons with the Panthers.

The mammoth nose tackle registered four sacks last season — his most since 2014 — but only played in 11 games. He is recovering from quadriceps surgery. Before 2019, however, Poe had never missed more than one game in a season. He’s been one of the league’s most durable defenders since coming into the league.

It appears the Cowboys are serious about upgrading inside. The McCoy deal and the Poe talks come a year after Dallas drafted Trysten Hill in the second round. Poe played five seasons with the Chiefs before catching on with the Falcons in 2017, and his Atlanta season resulted in a three-year Carolina deal worth nearly $30MM. It will not cost the Cowboys that much to bring in Poe.

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Extra Points: Harrison, Hurts, Dunn, Texans

Damon Harrison got cut by the Lions, but he’s not quite ready to call it a career. ‘Snacks’, as he’s affectionately known, had publicly contemplated retirement back in December. He won’t be returning to Detroit but Harrison doesn’t want to hang up his cleats and wants to continue playing, a source told Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link). Back in December Harrison revealed that injuries were taking their toll on him. “I got too much pride, man. I’ve been doing this too long. So if I can’t be the player that I’m used to being, I think my teammates deserve better, my family deserves better … I never cheated the game a day of my life, man,” an emotional Harrison said as he reportedly fought back tears.

“My mind’s still telling me I can do it,” he said, “but my body’s just not good.” Harrison is apparently feeling better now, and is ready to test the open market. His play fell off last year as he dealt with health issues, but just a couple years ago the defensive tackle was one of the best run stuffers in the league. 31 now, Harrison was a first-team All-Pro in 2016 with the Giants. He released a statement on Twitter thanking the Lions, and calling the split a mutual parting of ways. He won’t get a huge contract, but he’ll draw some interest in free agency.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Seemingly every year now there’s a minor controversy about a dual-threat quarterback being asked to work out at another position at the combine, and Oklahoma passer Jalen Hurts put that talk to rest early. The former Alabama quarterback and Heisman Trophy finalist won’t work out for teams at any position other than quarterback, D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. A threat with his legs as well as his arm, Hurts has been working out in Atlanta in preparation for the combine. Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller had him as a late third-round pick in his recent mock draft.
  • Brandon Dunn got an extension from the Texans earlier this week, and now we have the details. It’s a three-year, $12MM deal with $4MM guaranteed, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). He got a $1.5MM signing bonus and a guaranteed $2.5MM salary for 2020, with the next two years of the deal being non-guaranteed. A former UDFA from Louisville who struggled for playing time his first couple of years in the league, the defensive tackle has now started at least six games for the Texans in each of the past three seasons.
  • In case you missed it, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy turned down a chance to become Colorado’s new head coach.

Lions Release Damon Harrison

Snacks’ tenure in Detroit has come to an end. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports (via Twitter) that the Lions are releasing defensive tackle Damon Harrison. The move will clear up more than $6MM in cap space.

The veteran was traded to Detroit midway through the 2018 season, and he actually became the first defensive lineman to appear in 17 games during an NFL regular season. He signed a one-year, $11MM extension with the organization last offseason, and the intent was that he’d remain in Detroit through the 2021 campaign.

Snacks finished the season having compiled 49 tackles and two sacks. However, the Lions disappointed, and the 31-year-old revealed after the season that he was considering retirement.

The 2012 undrafted free agent out of William Penn spent the first four seasons of his career with the Jets before inking a five-year deal with the Giants. He earned a first-team All-Pro nod in 2016.

The Lions defensive tackles corps could look a whole lot different next season. As ESPN’s Michael Rothstein tweetsA’Shawn Robinson and Mike Daniels could skip town, leading the reporter to wonder if Derrick Brown or Javon Kinlaw could make sense in the draft.

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Extra Points: Brady, Dalton, Dolphins, Lions

Tom Brady news figures to be a rather common occurrence in this unusual offseason for the 20-year Patriots passer. Set for free agency for the first time, Brady is not expected to re-sign with the Patriots before free agency opens. The Chargers have surfaced again, with Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports noting that Brady will have the Bolts atop his list — if, in fact, he decides to leave New England. This is not the first Brady-Chargers link, but JLC adds that the 42-year-old quarterback would have a short list if he did legitimately decide to test free agency. The Chargers’ Los Angeles headquarters, which have not been especially beneficial to the franchise thus far, would appeal to Brady. The future Hall of Famer holds offseason workouts at USC and has previously lived in L.A. The Chargers are set to move into their new stadium, along with the Rams. Brady would certainly help on this front, with the team struggling to generate attention in its new market.

Here is the latest from around the league:

  • Andy Dalton and new Bears offensive coordinator Bill Lazor remain close, and JLC can envision this being a factor in how the quarterback dominoes fall during what could be a complex offseason at sports’ marquee position. Dalton “loved” playing for Lazor during his time as Bengals QBs coach and OC, per JLC. Although the Bears have committed to starting Mitchell Trubisky next season, he certainly has not lived up to his No. 2 overall draft slot and could be pushed like 2015 No. 2 pick Marcus Mariota was this season.
  • Patriots free agents Devin McCourty, Joe Thuney and Kyle Van Noy will likely have many suitors. One is expected to be the Dolphins, with Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writing that Brian Flores holds McCourty in high regard and that the team will pursue Thuney and Van Noy. All three are unrestricted free agents-to-be. Van Noy and McCourty played under Flores during his time as de facto Patriots defensive coordinator (2018), linebackers coach (2016-17) and safeties coach (2012-15). Van Noy and Thuney may price themselves out of New England.
  • Raekwon McMillan‘s 2019 season also helped sell the Dolphins on his long-term stock, Jackson adds. The Dolphins are interested in keeping the linebacker around long-term. McMillan rated as an upper-echelon linebacker, per Pro Football Focus, this season and became extension-eligible at season’s end. Under the Flores-Chris Grier setup, the Dolphins have already extended a few holdovers from the previous regime.
  • Damon Harrison revealed at the regular season’s end he is considering retirement, and the Lions are still waiting. They will likely not know Snacks’ plans for at least another few weeks, per the Detroit Free Press’ Dave Birkett. Thanks to the one-year add-on the Lions gave him in August, Harrison is under contract through 2021.
  • The Lions are expected to promote defensive assistant Steve Gregory to secondary coach, Birkett adds. The Lions hired Gregory, who played under Matt Patricia in New England, in 2018. Detroit fired DBs coach Brian Stewart after the season.

Lions’ Damon Harrison Contemplating Retirement

The Lions wrapped up their disappointing 2019 campaign Sunday, and it might’ve been the last ever game for one notable veteran. Speaking to reporters after their loss to Green Bay, Damon Harrison said he’s seriously considering retiring, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.

‘Snacks’ as the defensive tackle is affectionately known, said he’s been dealing with several injuries and might have to have surgery. “I got too much pride, man. I’ve been doing this too long. So if I can’t be the player that I’m used to being, I think my teammates deserve better, my family deserves better … I never cheated the game a day of my life, man,” an emotional Harrison said as he reportedly fought back tears.

“My mind’s still telling me I can do it,” he said, “but my body’s just not good.” Harrison had been with the Giants for the past few seasons before he was traded to Detroit last year. He played great after initially joining the Lions, and was one of the league’s better run stuffers for a while. A first-team All-Pro selection in 2016, his play had fallen off significantly this year as he battled injuries.

“But if I do walk away, I’m not ashamed,” he continued. “I don’t feel bad because I gave it everything I had, even when it wasn’t good enough.” Harrison is under contract for $8.5MM next season, but the Lions might not be inclined to bring him back at that price. The 31-year-old signed with the Jets as an undrafted free agent back in 2012, and if this is it for him, he carved out a heck of a career. 

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North Notes: Hunt, Steelers, Lions, Packers

It turns out Kareem Hunt‘s suspension won’t be as significant as it originally seemed. The Browns’ running back is suspended for the first eight games of the season, but he would’ve missed the first handful of those games anyway. Hunt underwent sports hernia surgery on Thursday, according to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. The injury will likely sideline Hunt for the next 4-6 weeks, according to a tweet from Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

The Browns announced in a tweet of their own that a “full recovery is anticipated prior to his return to action in Week 10 of the regular season.” Hunt will be eligible to return from his suspension on November 10th against the Bills. Until then Cleveland’s backfield will still be in good hands, as they have Nick Chubb holding down the fort. Once Hunt returns, the Browns will have a potentially scary one-two punch. Hunt was one of the best running backs in the league before Kansas City cut him last year, scoring 14 touchdowns in just 11 games.

Here’s more from the league’s North divisions:

  • Ben Roethlisberger has a new backup. Second-year player Mason Rudolph has won the competition to be the Steelers’ backup in 2019, sources told Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Pittsburgh drafted Rudolph 76th overall last year, and he spent the 2018 season as the third-string passer behind Roethlisberger and Joshua Dobbs. During the preseason Rudolph impressed by completing 65 percent of his passes while throwing four touchdowns and only one interception, and some think he’s a potential heir to Roethlisberger. He hasn’t been cut yet, but it looks like this could be the end of the line for Dobbs, a 2017 fourth-rounder, in Pittsburgh.
  • The Lions gave defensive tackle Damon Harrison an extension last week, and now we have the full details, courtesy of Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. In addition to getting an extra year tacked onto his deal, Harrison also received a $2MM raise for the 2019 season. He also got a $7.5MM signing bonus. His contract now runs through the 2021 season, with an option on the final year that must be exercised by the final day of the 2020 league year.
  • Speaking of Lions contract details, punter Sam Martin had his deal reworked, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Martin had a non-guaranteed base salary of $2.4MM for 2019, which was bumped down to a guaranteed $1.7MM. Yates adds that 2020 is now a voidable year in his contract. Martin took a pay-cut for 2019, but he’ll now get the chance to reach free agency sooner and cash in as a result of the 2020 year becoming voidable when it was previously just non-guaranteed salary.
  •  The Packers have settled on their starting left guard. After a training camp battle between veteran Lane Taylor and rookie Elgton Jenkins, the team has opted to go with Taylor, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. “It’s going to be a competition throughout the season, but right now Lane Taylor is the starter,” head coach Matt LaFleur said. Taylor signed with Green Bay as an UDFA back in 2013 and has been with the team ever since. He’s started at least 14 games each of the past three seasons, although his play has been underwhelming at times. The Packers drafted Jenkins 44th overall out of Mississippi State back in April.

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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