New York Jets’ Top Tackler, Linebacker Harris, Signs Multiyear Extension

New York Jets linebacker David Harris signed a multiyear contract extension six months after the team placed a franchise tag on its leading tackler.

Terms of the accord weren’t disclosed by the Jets. The four-year agreement is worth $36 million, with $29.6 million guaranteed, a record for an inside linebacker, the Associated Press reported, citing a person familiar with the deal.

Harris has led the Jets in tackles in three of his four seasons with the team, the exception being 2008. Along with players including cornerbacks Antonio Cromartie and Darrelle Revis, and linebacker Bart Scott, the Jets have given up a league-low 8,701 yards over the past two National Football League seasons, helping them to within one win of the Super Bowl in each year.

“I’m thrilled to be able to play my career out with guys like Darrelle Revis and Bart Scott next to me,” the 27-year-old Harris told reporters last night. “ They make coming to work every day fun.”

The 6-foot-2, 243-pound Harris, the Jets’ Most Valuable Player last season, has 428 tackles in 59 games since being chosen with the 47th overall pick in the 2007 draft.

Each team in the NFL can apply the franchise tag to one player whose contract is expiring, preventing him from becoming a free agent.

Roster Moves

Harris’s new contract was revealed a day after Cromartie, who had three interceptions in 15 games last season, re-signed with the Jets on a four-year contract that ESPN said is worth $32 million.

Cromartie was signed to the extension after the Jets failed to persuade cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha to join its secondary. Asomugha got a five-year, $60 million free-agent deal from the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Jets have also signed former New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress since the league and players agreed to a new 10-year labor contract, ending a 4 1/2-month lockout.

Burress was reinstated by the NFL last week after leaving prison June 6, having served 20 months of a two-year sentence on a weapons charge.

Linebacker Jason Taylor is leaving the Jets to rejoin the Miami Dolphins. Taylor, the NFL’s active sacks leader, spent 12 of his first 13 seasons with the Dolphins before coming to New York.

Jets General Manager Mike Tannenbaum said reaching a longterm agreement with Harris was at the forefront of his mind, even while all the other roster changes were taking place.

“Even though with all the madness last week, and we were in on dozens of deals, signed a bunch of guys, it was still a very important priority to us,” Tannenbaum told reporters. “It gives Dave the well-deserved security in the guarantees which he richly deserves.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Dex McLuskey in Dallas at dmcluskey@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net.

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