Marcell Harris

New York Jets Notes: Receivers, Mims, Trades, Harris

After losing the team-leader in receptions, Jamison Crowder, to free agency, the Jets have been looking to improve their wide receiver room this offseason. The Jets’ top five receivers’ season totals were within 107 yards of each other. Unfortunately for New York, their top receiver, Elijah Moore, totaled only 538 yards last year, followed by Corey Davis with 492 yards, Keelan Cole with 449 yards, Crowder with 447 yards, and Braxton Berrios with 431 yards. With Cole being a free agent, the Jets return a top-three group of Moore, Davis, and Berrios.

Many suspected that New York would address the position through free agency, but, while they were linked to essentially every available wide receiver, the only move they made was re-signing All-Pro return man Berrios. ESPN’s Rich Cimini posits that this may be a vote of confidence in third-year receiver Denzel Mims. In two years in the league, Mims has caught 31 balls for 490 yards, but Mims has cut his body fat to 8% this season and Jets’ coaches are liking what they’re hearing about the 24-year-old this offseason.

Veteran free agents are still available with the likes of Odell Beckham Jr., Julio Jones, Jarvis Landry, and even Antonio Brown still sitting on the open market. More likely would be the Jets addressing the position using the 2022 NFL Draft. The Jets have been linked to names like USC’s Drake London and Ohio State’s Garrett Wilson, but they’ve also expressed interest in trading one of their two top-ten picks for a veteran receiver. According to Brian Costello of the New York Post, Jets general manager Joe Douglas doubled down on that interest, claiming that conversations with other general managers about draft trades have been heating up. Douglas didn’t go into specifics, but, according to Connor Hughes of The Athletic, in response to the news that Deebo Samuel is seeking a trade, Douglas said, “My job is to get the team better. If the opportunity presents itself, we are going to be aggressive.”

One other note concerning the Jets’ new addition to the defense, Marcell Harris:

Jets To Sign S Marcell Harris

The Jets are adding another contributor to their safety corps and another defensive back familiar with Robert Saleh‘s system. Former 49ers safety Marcell Harris is joining the Jets, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets.

Harris visited the Jets on Thursday. He will follow D.J. Reed as ex-49ers DBs to join Saleh in New York this offseason. The Jets also added former Buccaneers safety Jordan Whitehead, shortly before losing Marcus Maye to the Saints, in March. Harris, 27, figures to add depth or potentially give the Jets another starter option alongside Whitehead.

A former San Francisco sixth-round pick, Harris saw extensive action on defense. Although the ex-Florida Gator backed up Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt, injuries to the 49ers’ starters opened the door to playing time throughout Harris’ Bay Area run. Harris started 20 games with the 49ers, including a career-high seven last season. Some of those starts came at linebacker, when Harris filled in for an injured Dre Greenlaw at points last season.

Harris also improved in coverage last season, seeing his passer rating as the nearest defender plummet considerably — to 75.8 — after those numbers hovered well above 100 during his first three seasons. The 215-pound defender made 155 tackles (including a career-high 44 last season) over his four-year run. The Jets return C.J. Mosley and Quincy Williams on their defensive second level. They figure to add help on all three levels in the draft, given the team’s last-place defensive rankings in Saleh’s debut.

David Bakhtiari Not Playing Vs. Niners

Nine-year veteran tackle David Bakhtiari missed nearly the entire 2021 NFL season after tearing his ACL on New Year’s Eve during the 2020 season. Unfortunately, he will have to continue waiting to play in his first playoff game since January of 2019, as the team announced, via Twitter, that he will be inactive for tonight’s game against the 49ers. 

Bakhtiari had made a return for the Packers’ regular season finale, making the start in Detroit, but only playing 40% of the team’s offensive snaps. Head Coach Matt LaFleur shook off the early exit in a postgame press conference stating, “I wouldn’t say it’s anything we’re concerned about,” but it appears some continual discomfort throughout the week will keep the two-time All Pro from making a postseason return, just yet.

In the absence of Bakhtiari this year, the Packers have employed Elgton Jenkins at the blindside tackle position. Despite the reshuffled offensive line and several other injuries to key players, Green Bay still secured a first-round bye and homefield advantage. They will work tonight to extend their season another week and give Bakhtiari at least one more chance for a postseason return.

Other inactives for the Packers listed for the game tonight were safeties Shawn Davis & Vernon Scott, linebacker Jonathan Garvin, and wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling. The 49ers will be without cornerbacks Ambry Thomas & Deommodore Lenoir, safety Jarrod Wilson, running back Trey Sermon, linebacker Marcell Harris, offensive lineman Jaylon Moore, and defensive lineman Maurice Hurst. Packers’ cornerback Jaire Alexander is expected to play tonight after being listed as questionable.

Minor NFL Transactions: 3/5/21

We’ll keep track of the latest minor moves here:

Arizona Cardinals

Los Angeles Chargers

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Tennessee Titans

Notable NFL Practice Squad Salaries

Playing on an NFL practice squad isn’t a bad gig. You work with a club’s 53-man roster every week, have a good chance to get called up if/when injuries strike, and collect a solid paycheck ($8K per week minimum). And for some practice squaders, the pay can get even better.

While all practice squad salaries count towards the salary cap, there’s no restriction on how much a team can pay a practice squad player. When a club desperately wants to retain a player but can’t fit him on its 53, they’ll often bump up his salary in an effort to keep him around. Here’s a look at several players who are earning much more than the NFL’s $8K per week standard, via Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link):

The 49ers clearly have no problem with spending a little extra on practice squad players, as both Lee and Harris are earning at least $22K more than the league PS minimum. Lee’s been with San Francisco since 2017 and started five games for the club last season, but the 49ers’ front seven depth is keeping him on the taxi squad for now. Harris, too, was a part-time starter for San Francisco in 2018.

The quarterbacks on the list are also interesting. Rypien has been deemed Broncos’ offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello‘s “project” and could be called up to the active roster at some point given that Denver is only carrying two quarterbacks in Joe Flacco and Brandon Allen (rookie second-rounder Drew Lock is on injured reserve). And the rebuilding Dolphins seem intent on hanging onto Rudock, who spent the first three seasons of his career with the Lions.

Sunday NFL Transactions: NFC West

Listed below are the Sunday roster moves for the four NFC West teams. Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline yesterday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters, claiming players off waivers or signing guys who clear waivers. Those transactions for the Cardinals, Rams, Seahawks and 49ers are noted below.

Additionally, teams can begin constructing their 10-man practice squads today. You can check out our glossary entry on practice squads to brush up on those changes, as well as all the other guidelines that govern the 10-man units, whose players practice with the team but aren’t eligible to suit up on Sundays.

Here are Sunday’s NFC West transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day.

Arizona Cardinals

Los Angeles Rams

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

49ers Cut Joshua Garnett, Reach Max

The 49ers got down to the 53-man roster maximum by releasing 24 players in total on Saturday, including former first-round pick Joshua Garnett.

The Niners used the No. 28 pick to select Garnett in 2016, but they never saw much from him at the pro level. The Stanford product started in eleven of his 15 games as a rookie, but even then, his performance was underwhelming – Garnett racked up penalties and didn’t excel in run blocking or pass blocking. Garnett then missed all of 2017 after undergoing knee surgery and only saw action as a reserve in seven games last year. At a rate of $10.35MM, it made little sense to keep Garnett for 2020, especially since the option would have been guaranteed for injury.

This year, Garnett is said to be healthy, but that ensured little in terms of performance, so he’s out. The Niners will save $1.7MM against $1.2MM in dead money.

Jordan Matthews was said to have had a strong camp, but the 27-year-old wide receiver wasn’t able to stick in SF. He inked a one-year, $1.8MM deal with the Niners in March, but he’ll exit with just his $300K signing bonus in hand.

Aside from Garnett and Matthews, here’s the rest of the Niners’ cuts:

Released

DB Antone Exum Jr.

LB Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles

DL Jamell Garcia-Williams

DL Kevin Givens

S Marcell Harris

TE Daniel Helm

WR Malik Henry

LB Elijah Lee

LB David Mayo

DL Damontre Moore

LB LaRoy Reynolds

G Ross Reynolds

S Tyree Robinson

QB Wilton Speight

WR Chris Thompson

DL Jordan Thompson

OL Najee Toran

DL Jeremiah Valoaga

RB Austin Walter

RB Jeff Wilson Jr.

Waived/Injured

DB Adrian Colbert

OL Andrew Lauderdale

49ers To Activate S Marcell Harris

The 49ers are activating safety Marcell Harris off of the injured reserve list, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears. The rookie sixth rounder is expected to make his debut against the Raiders on Thursday night after being sidelined for several weeks with a hamstring ailment. 

Harris lost his entire 2017 season at Florida due to a torn Achilles, so he has been out of action for quite a while. Before that injury, Harris turned in a strong 2016 campaign in which he totaled 73 tackles, four tackles-for-loss, one sack, two interceptions, one pass breakup, one quarterback hurry, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. He also scored the first touchdown of his career on special teams at FSU on a fumbled punt.

The Niners will start D.J. Reed and Jaquiski Tartt at safety the Thursday night contest with Antone Exum and Tyvis Powell also serving as depth options. Harris will slide in as a reserve, taking a spot that opened when Adrian Colbert was placed on IR.

West Notes: Broncos, Bosa, Henry, Seahawks

Yesterday, 28-year-old Brittany Bowlen publicly confirmed her interest in one day becoming the Broncos‘ controlling owner. As Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic tweets, however, Bowlen’s interest had been known for some time, yesterday just marked the first time she went public with her feelings. Jhabvala also confirms that, if Bowlen does not become the controlling owner, the Pat Bowlen Trust will likely sell the club to an outside buyer.

Now let’s take a look at some more news and notes from the league’s west divisions:

  • Chargers DE Joey Bosa will make his debut on November 4 against the Seahawks, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. That is the return date that the team has been targeting for some time, and Bosa will obviously provide a huge boost to the team’s pass rush and playoff aspirations.
  • The news is not as good for Chargers TE Hunter Henry. Although there was some hope that Henry could return to the field this season, despite the fact that he tore his ACL in May, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports that the odds of that happening are quite slim.
  • La Canfora confirms a report from earlier this week that the Seahawks will eventually be sold in the wake of Paul Allen‘s death. Allen, who has no heirs and who did not intend to pass on the team to a specific person, did make plans and stipulations just the same. The NFL is reserving comment at this time and will allow the Seahawks to make Allen’s plans public when they choose to, but sources expect that the transfer of the team — likely for a price exceeding $2.3 billion — will take a similar course as the eventual sale of the Bills after Ralph Wilson‘s passing. In that case, Wilson had put a framework in place for the Bills to remain in Buffalo, and the team was ultimately sold to Terry Pegula, who already had strong ties to the region.
  • 49ers sixth-round draft pick Marcell Harris was cleared to begin practice this week, the team announced, making him eligible to return as early as Week 9 against the Raiders. The strong safety was placed on IR after the team’s final cutdown, but the team left open the possibility that he could play this year. The Niners must activate him before Nov. 7 for him to be eligible to play. If he does play this year, it will snap an inactive streak that has been ongoing since he suffered a torn Achilles at Florida.

Ben Levine contributed to this post.