Kristian Dyer has a report that makes it seem like free agent to be nose tackle Damon Harrison could be difficult to re-sign.
Two years ago, the Jets tried to sign him long-term, with a team source saying that he was offered a three-year contract for $15 million, an offer which he turned down.
Which means that Harrison could be primed to receive one of the largest contracts for any 3-4 nose tackle in the NFL, something that might be in line with a defensive tackles Haloti Ngata or a Geno Atkins. And it could be argued that Harrison’s dominance in the 3-4, much more demanding and grueling on a nose tackle then in the 4-3, could mean that a team would be willing to overpay for his services.
If Harrison is going to seek top dollar, it is going to be very difficult for the Jets to keep both him and Muhammad Wilkerson.
I do not blame Harrison for a second if he does sell his services to the highest bidder. He has done a great job for the Jets. He is one of the top run stuffing defensive linemen in the league. As an undrafted free agent, he has not made big, big money yet. This might be his one chance to cash in and set himself up for life.
That is the way it goes. Sometimes you cannot keep all of your good players. If Wilkerson is retained, the Jets will have three first round defensive tackles on the roster. Would it be the best allocation of resources to pay a lot to Harrison, who is more one-dimensional than the other three? I tend to not think so.
When entering free agency, one key question is how a team would replace a free agent. In this instance, Harrison is an excellent run defender, but when he is on the field, Wilkerson and Richardson have been pushed further outside. These are guys who profile to be at their very best as interior players. Without Harrison, these guys will move inside more. Will you lose much if anything as run defenders? Probably not. Will you gain anything in pass rushing? It seems that way.
If it is going to take Geno Atkins money to keep Harrison, the Jets should pass. He is an excellent run stopper, but he is not a Geno Atkins type force. Wilkerson is the guy to break the bank to keep. He is a more complete lineman.