Duron Harmon

Raiders S Johnathan Abram Not Guaranteed To Start

In 2019, the Oakland Raiders used a first-round pick acquired by trading wide receiver Amari Cooper to the Cowboys to draft Mississippi State safety Johnathan Abram. Since being selected at No. 27 overall, Abram has been a starter in the Raiders’ secondary, whenever he’s healthy. That presumed role as a starter may be in jeopardy, according to The Athletic’s Vic Tafur and Tashan Reed. 

Abram has plenty of talent to offer the Raiders’ defense, but one reason that he may get relegated from his starting duties is that he can’t seem to keep that talent on the field. Injuries have bitten Abram early and often during his time in the NFL. After competing in his first NFL game, it was reported that Abram would be out for the remainder of his rookie season with a torn rotator cuff and labrum. Abram missed three games in the 2020 NFL season (one due to COVID-19) and ended the 2021 season on injured reserve after undergoing shoulder surgery, forcing him to miss the team’s final three regular season games and their first playoff game since the 2016 season.

When he has been on the field, Abram has developed into a gifted safety in the box. While that’s all good and well, defensive coordinator Patrick Graham’s defense usually requires safeties to play in multiple roles. Abram does have three interceptions and 11 passes defensed over three years, but he has yet to show the versatility required of him to consistently cover deep zones. So far Abram hasn’t been able to show he isn’t a liability in coverage. Last year, Abram led all safeties, being targeted 68 times and allowing 54 receptions, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

Another factor that hurts Abram’s chance to remain at the top of the depth chart is the offseason signing of veteran safety Duron Harmon. The former long-time Patriot has spent the past two seasons in Detroit and Atlanta. Despite leaving New England at 29-years-old, Harmon broke out in his new cities, going from a part-time starter to starting every game for the Lions and Falcons. Harmon has more ability in coverage than Abram, recording at least one interception in every season and maxing out at 4 interceptions in a season twice. Since earning a starting role, he’s also increased his play on ball carriers, more than doubling his average tackles per season as a starter. He also has some familiarity with Graham from the three seasons they spent together in New England.

Last year’s rookie, Trevon Moehrig, will likely man one starting spot while Harmon pushes Abram for the other. According to PFF, Moehrig rated 25th among all NFL safeties. Harmon, at 68th, just edged out Abram, 75th, in the positional rankings.

The good news for Abram, is that he’s shown improvement every year he’s played in the NFL. He will continue to be targeted by NFL quarterbacks until he proves he can keep the ball out of receivers’ hands. Fortunately, he’s impressed his coaching staff so far this offseason, but whether that means they can count on him to not be a liability in the secondary this year has yet to be seen.

Raiders Sign S Duron Harmon

Since taking over in their roles with the Raiders, Josh McDaniels and Dave Ziegler have had a habit of recruiting former Patriots players to Las Vegas. We can add another player to the list, as the Raiders announced that they’ve signed veteran safety Duron Harmon. It’s a one-year deal, according to agent Andy Simms (on Twitter).

The 2013 third-round pick spent the first seven seasons of his career in New England, starting 29 of his 111 games. While Harmon usually had to settle for a backup role on defense, he still collected 17 interceptions during his time with the organization. The safety also earned three Super Bowl rings, seeing time in 17 playoff games (including a championship-winning 2016 postseason where he started all three games for the Patriots).

In 2020, Harmon was paired with a seventh-round pick and shipped to the Seahawks for a fifth-round pick. The veteran started all 16 games that year, collecting a career-high 73 tackles. He signed a one-year pact with the Falcons last offseason, and he started all 17 games for his new squad, finishing with 67 tackles, five passes defended, and two interceptions.

By our count, Harmon is the sixth former Patriots player to head to Las Vegas to join the GM/HC tandem. The safety joins a growing list that already includes defensive end Chandler Jones, running back/special teamer Brandon Bolden, fullback Jakob Johnson, quarterback Garrett Gilbert, and tight end Jacob Hollister. The Raiders also had interest in signing Stephon Gilmore, who won Defensive Player of the Year with the Patriots in 2019.

Contract Details: Smith, Falcons, Texans

Here are the details from some of the league’s most recently agreed-upon contracts:

  • Cordarrelle Patterson, WR (Falcons): One year, $3MM. The decorated kick returner’s contract includes a $1.7MM base salary and $1.3MM signing bonus, Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com tweets.
  • DeMarcus Walker, DL (Texans): One year, $1.5MM. The ex-Broncos D-lineman will receive $500K guaranteed and can earn up to $200K in per-game roster bonuses, per veteran NFL reporter Aaron Wilson (on Twitter). Walker’s deal will count $1.45MM against the Texans’ cap.
  • Jaleel Johnson, DL (Texans): One year, $1.3MM. Johnson will see $300K of his $1MM base salary guaranteed, Wilson tweets. A $350K incentive also exists within this deal.
  • Roderick Johnson, T (Texans): One year, $1.15MM. Johnson will receive $350K guaranteed. He will be attached to a $920K base salary and can collect $130K in per-game roster bonuses, Wilson tweets.
  • Aldon Smith, DE (Seahawks): One year, $1.13MM. Smith agreed to a deal that includes a nonguaranteed $990K base salary, Brady Henderson of ESPN.com tweets. He will collect a $137K signing bonus, with the contract counting at $988K on Seattle’s cap sheet.
  • Lane Taylor, G (Texans): One year, $1.13MM. Taylor will collect a $138K signing bonus and count $988K toward Houston’s cap, Wilson tweets.
  • Duron Harmon, S (Falcons): One year, $1.1MM. Harmon will receive $363K guaranteed, per Rothstein. He will count $988K against Atlanta’s cap.

Falcons Sign Duron Harmon

The Falcons have officially signed safety Duron Harmon to a one-year deal, per a club announcement. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. In related news, the Falcons also confirmed their signing of veteran wide receiver/kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson

[RELATED: Falcons To Sign Cordarrelle Patterson]

Harmon, 30, spent his first seven NFL seasons with the Patriots, providing reliable play with near-perfect attendance. Last year, old friend Matt Patricia brought him to Detroit in an exchange of late-round picks. Harmon went on to start in all 16 of the Falcons’ games, tallying 73 tackles, two interceptions, and five passes defensed along the way. Last year, Harmon earned a base salary of $3.5MM – this time around, he’ll likely earn less with the Falcons.

Harmon may not be an All-Pro, but he is a durable defender who can give the Falcons some badly needed depth at safety. Unless the Falcons score an impact rookie in the draft, he may be tapped to start at free safety opposite of Erik Harris.

For his career, the Rutgers product has 248 tackles, two tackles for loss, 19 interceptions, and 33 passes defensed to his credit. He’s also a three-time Super Bowl champion (including Super Bowl LI).

Patriots Trade Duron Harmon To Lions

The Patriots have traded defensive back Duron Harmon to the Lions, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). This will be another Patriots pick-swap deal, with Harmon and a seventh-round pick (No. 235 overall) going to Detroit in exchange for a fifth-rounder (No. 172), NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero tweets.

Harmon has history with head coach Matt Patricia, who previously served as the commander of the Patriots’ defense. Patricia has made it a point to bring in familiar faces from New England over the years and Harmon is just the latest to come through the pipeline.

The 29-year-old has spent all seven of his NFL seasons with the Patriots with near-perfect attendance. Last year, the Pats put him in the starting lineup for eight games and he finished out with 22 stops, two interceptions, and five passes defensed.

Harmon has one year to go on his deal and is set to earn a base salary of $3.5MM in 2020. After that, he’ll be on course for unrestricted free agency.

Earlier today, the Lions tapped another ex-Patriot in defensive tackle Danny Shelton. And, on Monday, they made an even bigger ex-Pats splash by agreeing to terms with linebacker Jamie Collins.

AFC Notes: Clowney, Darnold, Patriots

The Texans are hoping to work out a long-term extension with star LB/DE Jadeveon Clowney this offseason, and the former No. 1 overall selection has expressed his desire to remain in Houston, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. Clowney, a two-time Pro Bowler, said, “I want to be [in Houston] forever. It would be great, something I always dreamed of. I don’t want to leave this team. I’ve been here since the beginning. I want to stay here. I want to finish my career here, so I’m looking forward to that. Hopefully, they lock me in.”

As Wilson notes, a new contract for Clowney could make him the highest-paid non-quarterback in the league, a mantle currently held by Denver’s Von Miller and his six-year, $114MM ($70MM guaranteed) deal. The Texans would like to get something done prior to the season, or even prior to training camp.

Now for more notes and rumors from around the AFC:

  • Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union offers his thoughts on a number of Jaguars-related items. For instance, he believes that, the longer Jacksonville is without a No. 2 QB, the likelier it is that the team uses a fairly high draft pick on a signal-caller. He also says the Jags need another versatile TE to continue running their grind-it-out offense, and he wonders if the fact that the team put a second-round tender on Corey Grant — which Grant signed several days ago — means that Grant will have a bigger role in the offense in 2018.
  • We already heard that top QB prospect Sam Darnold looked very good at USC’s recent pro day, and per Albert Breer of SI.com, Darnold himself said he is “trying to go to Cleveland” (meaning, of course, that he wants to be the No. 1 overall selection). Indeed, one AFC executive who attended the pro day told Breer, “Everyone out there today saw the Browns’ franchise quarterback.” Breer adds that post-combine buzz has pointed towards a Darnold-Cleveland marriage.
  • The Bengals may appear to be out of the running for the top safeties still on the free agent market — players like Kenny Vaccaro and Eric Reid — but Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer believes that the club is still monitoring those and other players to see if their price drops enough to make a move.
  • Patriots safety Duron Harmon, who was denied entry into Costa Rica after attempting to bring marijuana into the country — and who was briefly detained before being sent back to the United States — issued an apology for his actions via Instagram. Harmon is not expected to be released, though he could be entered into the league’s drug program and face a suspension from the league or the team. It is unclear at this point if he will face any criminal charges.
  • Now that the Patriots have lost Nate Solder and Cameron Fleming, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com looks at the battle for the Patriots’ starting left tackle position. The newly-resigned LaAdrian Waddle could be a factor, as could 2017 third-rounder Antonio Garcia. Garcia missed his rookie season due to blood clots in his lung, and while he has been cleared to play, he has lost a lot of weight and has a lot of ground to make up. Reiss says 2017 UDFA Cole Croston is an ascending player and could be a realistic candidate for the LT job.

Patriots S Duron Harmon Detained After Marijuana Smuggle Attempt In Costa Rica

Patriots safety Duron Harmon was denied entry into Costa Rica after attempting to bring marijuana into the country, according to Costa Rican newspaper La Nacion. Harmon was briefly detained before being sent back to the United States. 

The 27-year-old defensive back attempted to bring in 58 grams of marijuana inside a can of iced tea, three pipes with cannabis oil, a THC candy and four containers with compressed marijuana, weighing 4.3 grams. The Patriots issued a statement Saturday morning regarding the incident, via Ben Volin of the Boston Globe (on Twitter):

“We are aware of the situation involving Duron Harmon Friday night in Costa Rica. He has since returned to the U.S. and we are seeking to gain more information. At this time, we have no further update.”

Harmon (via Instagram) issued an apology Saturday night.

Volin doesn’t expect the Patriots to release Harmon following the incident but does expect the Patriots or the NFL to step in and hand down some sort of punishment (on Twitter). The league has yet to comment on the incident.

The Patriots took Harmon in the third round of the 2013 draft and he’s missed just one game thus far in his career while making 15 starts. Last season, Harmon tallied a career-high four interceptions and seven pass defenses. Harmon is once again slated to work alongside Patrick Chung and Devin McCourty as a safety in the Patriots’ secondary.

East Notes: Harmon, Giants, Hauschka, Jets

Duron Harmon wasn’t connected to many teams during his first instance as an NFL free agent. Part of that may have stemmed from the fifth-year safety’s desire to stay with the Patriots. Although he’s only started 12 games in four years, Harmon received lower-end starter money from the defending Super Bowl champions.

Coming back to New England, that’s ultimately what I wanted to do. I love it here,” Harmon said via Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald. “In the end, just coming back here really wasn’t a hard decision. It was something that I ultimately wanted to do.”

Part of that reasoning was a confidence the Bill Belichick– and Matt Patricia-led defense would deploy him best. He played as a nickel defender for most of last season, joining Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung in those looks. His $4.25MM AAV is tied for 35th in the league among safeties. The Dolphins emerged as a possible contender for Harmon’s second contract, but no indication came that Harmon turned down more money from another team.

That’s one of the reasons why I wanted to come back, they know how to use me,” Harmon said, per Howe. “They know how to really get the best out of me and I want to continue to grow being a part of this defense.”

Here’s more from the East divisions.

  • Brandon Marshall‘s Giants cap charges will be $4.5MM in 2017 and $6.5MM in 2018, Dan Duggan of NJ.com reports. The 12th-year wide receiver will make a fully guaranteed $3MM this season. Marshall is due a nonguaranteed $5MM for 2018, which will be his age-34 season.
  • New York’s John Jerry re-up will see the veteran guard stand to earn a $925K fully guaranteed base salary in 2017 and have a ’17 cap hit of $1.75MM, per Duggan. Jerry will count $4.125MM against the 2018 cap, although only $925K of that is guaranteed — and that guarantee is for injury only. If Jerry is still on the Giants in 2019, he’ll have a $3.05MM base and a $4.125MM cap charge.
  • Rhett Ellison‘s four-year Giants pact has the tight end’s cap charges at $2.25MM (2017), $3.75MM (2018), $5.75MM (2019) and $6.25MM (2020), according to Duggan. Ellison’s $975K base salary this season is fully guaranteed, as is $2.025MM of his $2.475MM base salary for 2018.
  • New Bills kicker Steven Hauschka called the Seahawks’ decision to release him and replace him with Blair Walsh an “interesting” one. “I thought it was interesting that direction that they would go in,” Hauschka said, per Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News. “But I’m not really concerned about that anymore because my job’s just to go out there and kick and that really doesn’t have anything to do with me now. But, yeah, it was definitely an interesting move.” Hauschka will make $2.6MM from the Bills this season ($1.6MM base/$1MM signing bonus) after collecting $2.7MM from the Seahawks in 2016. Walsh will earn an $800K base and a $300K roster bonus in Seattle.
  • The Jets‘ decision not to pursue Colin Kaepernick is probably about more than just his quarterbacking acumen, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com writes. We heard earlier today the Jets were not the team that nearly signed the 29-year-old passer, and Cimini connects the dots between owner Woody Johnson — a Republican fundraiser and recently nominated to become ambassador to Great Britain — and the likely media frenzy that would occur if Kaepernick played in New York as reasonable issues that are standing in the way of the Jets pushing to add the ex-49ers QB. The Jets have been connected to both Jay Cutler and Josh McCown.

Patriots Re-Sign S Duron Harmon

He’s not going anywhere. In the midst of an active week for the Patriots, they are maintaining some stability. Safety Duron Harmon has re-signed with the team, Jeff Howe of The Boston Herald tweets. It’s a four-year, $20MM deal (with $3MM of that money coming via incentives). Ben Volin of The Boston Globe tweets that the deal includes $6.5MM in guaranteed money, which will all translate in 2017 ($1.5MM salary, $5MM signing bonus).

Duron HarmonHarmon will join Devin McCourty as Patriot safeties signed long-term, providing some continuity to what could be a rearranged secondary come 2017. The Patriots now have them both locked up through at least 2019.

New England could lose both Logan Ryan and Malcolm Butler this offseason. Ryan is a UFA and hasn’t signed elsewhere yet, but the Patriots and Saints are potentially set to complete a momentous trade that would send Butler to New Orleans and Brandin Cooks to Massachusetts. The Pats added Stephon Gilmore today as well to infuse some additional talent into this group.

Harmon functioned as a part-time starter for the Pats during his four-year rookie-deal tenure. This contract likely will point him toward more work. He made 27 tackles and picked off one pass last season, starting four games.

Patriots Working To Re-Sign Duron Harmon

The Patriots are pushing to re-sign safety Duron Harmon, and a deal is expected to come together, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).Duron Harmon

New England’s secondary is in flux, as the club has agreed to sign cornerback Stephon Gilmore away from the Bills and is reportedly considering a trade involving Malcolm Butler. Harmon would remain a constant in the defensive backfield if re-signed, however, as he’s appeared in 63 of a possible 64 game during his four-year run with the Patriots.

Harmon, 26, has never been a full-time starter in New England, instead serving as the team’s designated nickel safety. That’s an important role in today’s passing league, however, and the ability to cover the deep section of the field is a skill that could lead to a large paycheck. As such, PFR ranked Harmon as the No. 2 free agent safety and the No. 12 overall free agent.