During most of Rex Ryan’s tenure as New York Jets head coach, the focus has been ball control offensively while playing aggressive defense. His 3-4 base scheme utilizes two middle linebackers often. One player who mans this position is David Harris, a 2007 second-round draft choice.
Run support has not been an issue with over 100 combined tackles in four of seven pro seasons. On the surface his talent would ensure that he stays in New York until retirement, but NFL contracts often prohibit this from happening. Players always desire that huge contract, and teams must fit such considerations into their long-term outlook. Evaluation of Harris’ current deal shows $6.2 million in annual guaranteed money towards $24.9 million of total obligated salary.
Fellow middle linebacker Demario Davis offers another young individual with tremendous upside. His 107 combined stops in 2013 demonstrated an ability to also make plays on opposing ball carriers. Again the Jets mostly rely on two sturdy players in the middle. Harris’ contract currently runs through 2015. Last year’s offseason showed that general manager John Idzik has little hesitation in making sweeping changes after seven starters were let go during this time frame.
Of course trading All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis showed that anyone can be moved. I expect Harris to play with the Jets this entire season and contribute to a very good defense, but if Idzik feels there is substantial value then nothing is set in stone. Ryan may want him on his team for several years, but it appears the GM enjoys a great deal of power in personnel matters.