NY Jets: Damon Harrison willing to return for less money

Nov 24, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Jets nose tackle Damon Harrison (94) against the Buffalo Bills at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 24, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Jets nose tackle Damon Harrison (94) against the Buffalo Bills at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports /

For the NY Jets, defensive tackle Damon Harrison, a pending free agent, knows he will be getting paid after earning just $3.803 million in his first four-years in the NFL. But does money mean everything to him?

Once free agency begins on March 9, Harrison could sign a contract in which he could earn anywhere from $3-5 million per year. Harrison has expressed his ideal situation of being re-signed by the Jets, a team that signed him as an undrafted free agent out of NAIA school back in 2012. Harrison conducted a Sirius XM NFL radio interview in which he touched upon his thoughts about the Jets and his future contract. According to the interview, this is what the pending free agent had to say.

“I know it sounds cliché, but in a perfect world, I would love to be back here.” He said. “I love the area. My family lives here. My kids are in school here. So I would love nothing more than to be here, and I think the organization is headed down the right path. I just really want to be a part of something special.”

“I think we should be able to get something done [with a contract]. If not, then I understand it’s a business and they’ll do what’s best for them on the business side, as well as I. But all hopes point toward me coming back here. Which I definitely want to do.”

The Jets also have other free agents such as Muhammad Wilkerson, which all signs point towards the franchise tag for him, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell. Can the Jets squeeze in a contract for their starting defensive tackle considering their tight salary cap situation? According to Harrison their has already “been some talks” between his camp and the Jets regarding a new contract.

So what exactly is Harrison looking for in his brand new contract? The 27-year old also had this to say.

“I would think they would have to go hand-in-hand, the financial side, as well as the type of team,” he said. “I’m not a money-hungry type of guy. I won’t take something with a team that I feel like isn’t headed in the right direction, because I love winning more than I love money. I could have all the money in the world, but if I’m not happy at the end of the day, then it would all just be a waste of time.”

Harrison is one of the leagues best nose tackles and is a newcomer when it comes to testing the market. Last season, Harrison recorded 72 combined tackles, half a sack, and one forced fumble. He has played in 53 games for the Jets since 2012 , including 16 games in each of the last three seasons with Gotham.

He has helped lift the Jets’ defensive line to become the second-best rush defense in the NFL last season. While there is still a possibility that Harrison remains a Jet for long-term, it all comes down to whether the Jets can financially afford to re-sign their star defensive tackle.

Dec 19, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Darren McFadden (20) runs as New York Jets nose tackle Damon Harrison (94) defends during the first quarter at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Harrison could be seeking a deal in the area of 4-years, $15-20-plus million with $8-10 million in guarantees. According to NJ.com, possible future cap casualties for the Jets include Jeff Cumberland which would free up $1.9 million, Jeremy Kerley ($1.3 million), Breno Giacomini ($4.375) Antonio Cromartie, which already happened and saved the team $8 million and if they chose, cutting Geno Smith would save the team $1 million.

The Jets could also restructure deals such as D’Brickashaw Ferguson‘s who is supposed to count $14.1 million against the salary cap and center Nick Mangold who is supposed to count $8.6 million against the cap. With those possible moves, the Jets could free up enough funds to re-sign there star defensive lineman.

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Will the Jets work a new deal with Harrison before the free agency period begins on March 9th? Only time will tell whether Harrison will be dressing in green and white for the 2016 season and beyond. Potential suitors for Harrison if the Jets are not able to work a deal with him are the Washington Redskins who are not expected to bring back Terrance Knighton.