With training camp underway, the New England Patriots will be welcoming some new faces. One of those new faces is linebacker David Harris.
It was a very busy offseason for the New England Patriots as expected. With a lot of free agents, the Patriots needed to address some key spots in order to give themselves a chance to repeat as Super Bowl Champions.
While the Patriots made some big moves to really improve on paper, they also made a few under-the-radar moves that could really help in 2017.
As part of the New York Jets’ purge this offseason, they cut a lot of their still talented veterans. One of the most shocking was the release of linebacker David Harris. Since being drafted by the Jets, Harris has been one of the most consistent players for the organization, and he is certainly well-respected as a linebacker around the league.
After the surprise cut, the Patriots wasted little time getting in touch Harris. Despite re-signing Dont’a Hightower to a long-term deal this offseason, they were able to convince Harris to sign as well on a very reasonable deal. Head coach Bill Belichick is used to playing against Harris, and that has resulted in him respecting his abilities quite a bit.
"“David’s an experienced guy,” Belichick said to Phil Perry of CSNNE.com. “He’s played a lot of football. He’s been in the division. He has pretty good familiarity with our opponents. But, yeah, we haven’t worked with him, so we’ll see how it goes. He’s had a very productive career, so we’ll see how it goes. Hopefully, he’ll be able to help us.”"
With the Patriots, Harris isn’t going to be asked to play nearly as much as he was with the Jets. Having a player that is a capable starter be willing to play a little bit less is something that the Patriots do well.
Harris is certainly still a very good run stuffer and has also improved in pass coverage as the NFL has switched more toward that. While he might not be in his prime anymore, he still will provide the Patriots with a lot of value.
With Hightower starting camp on the PUP list, having Harris instantly provides the Patriots with a proven backup for their starting linebacker. Even though Hightower is a great player, his durability can be questioned. Having Harris on the team gives the Patriots a great option in case Hightower is banged up.