I remember there being some debate about the value of David Harris this past off-season. Set to become a free agent, there was fear that Harris could wind up in Buffalo.
A 2nd round pick in 2007, Harris has played his entire career with the Jets. Harris was 31 this off-season when he signed a new contract. The contract he signed made it on to several lists highlighting the worst contracts of free agency.
At the time a $21.5 million contract on Harris over 3 years with $15 million guaranteed sounded like a lot, and it was. However the guaranteed money in the contract was front-loaded to 2015 and 2016, so after that point the Jets can move on if they choose too. However, Harris has been as steady as always. He's never going to win any awards for his coverage ability, but his importance to this team can not be overlooked.
Bowles certainly appreciates what Harris brings to the table
I don't think we could function on defense if David wasn't playing right now. David's probably the most underrated guy over there, but he's the glue that keeps everybody together over there. He does everything. Not only just mentally, he makes plays. He makes a ton of plays. They're probably not flashy, like you see Mo (Muhammad Wilkerson) and you see (Darrelle) Revis and the rest of those guys. But, David keeps that core intact. David understand the game. He's our coach on the field. Without him, I don't know where we'd be.
I personally feel as though Harris has performed admirably this year and I've seen an improvement in his play over the last 3-4 weeks, which coincides with the Jets giving less snaps to Davis and more to players like Lattimore and Henderson.
He's on course for his 4th 100 tackle season in a row, currently with 86 with three games to play. He may not be at the level he was between 2009 and 2011, but he's a key component of this defense, and he's still productive. When Harris takes the field for the Jets in 2016, he'd have spent a decade in green and white.
He's the coach of the defense and if you saw the Titans mix-up on Sunday with the Marshall touchdown, you'll know how important that is. Having someone who can ensure everyone knows their roles is key to a cohesive unit, Harris is that man, and that's just one of the reasons why the Jets needed to re-sign him.
"He was a big priority. He's a good football player. Those guys don't come around often. You can't let them go"explained Bowles