Many Jets fans were surprised and disappointed by the sudden decision to release linebacker David Harris. So were Harris and his agents.
“Very disappointed in the timing of this event and the decision,” the player’s agents said in a statement provided to NFL Media. “The Jets could’ve done this prior to free agency instead of waiting three months, especially for a player who has exhibited nothing but loyalty and class for 10 years.”
They’re right. The Jets could have done it. But with the structure of the contract not compelling them to move quickly, via for example a significant roster bonus or guaranteed payment triggered in the middle of March, the Jets had the luxury of time.
They risked owing Harris $6.5 million if he’d suffered a serious injury during offseason workouts, but as the Chiefs did with receiver Jeremy Maclin, the Jets rolled the dice in order to evaluate Harris and those who may take his place.
Right or wrong doesn’t matter in these situations; the Harris contract allowed the Jets to drag their feet. If they’d wanted to wait even longer, they could have.
Indeed, the Jets wouldn’t have been the first team to wait until late August to put the take-a-pay-cut-or-take-a-hike ultimatum on the table. The only good news for Harris is that, by doing it now, the Jets have given him more of a chance to find his next NFL destination.