One of the most beloved players in the Jets’ locker room is headed to their biggest rival.
ESPN reported Wednesday that the Patriots have reached agreement on a two-year, $6.75-million deal with linebacker David Harris. He had been the longest-tenured Jet until June 6, when he was released after 10 seasons with the team.
Releasing Harris saved the Jets $6.5 million in cap space.
The move continued a complete roster overhaul in which the Jets shedded veterans and salary at a rapid rate. Linebacker Darron Lee and defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson, both of whom are very close to the mild-mannered Harris, expressed sadness at his departure.
The release occurred after contract talks fell through between Harris’ camp and the Jets. Harris joined Nick Mangold, Breno Giacomini, Nick Folk, Darrelle Revis, Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, all of whom were released in the rebuild.
“It was an organizational decision,” coach Todd Bowles told reporters upon Harris’ release. “They were talking about a salary reduction and they didn’t come to an agreement — or we didn’t come to an agreement — and eventually it led to this.”
It was then that Harris’ representatives sent a statement to ESPN declaring dissatisfaction with the Jets’ timing. By waiting to part ways, the Jets prevented Harris from trying his hand in the free-agent market.
Harris was the Jets’ defensive leader, an excellent run stuffer and a wily presence inside who led the team in tackles (63 solo, 95 combined). At 33, age and injuries have taken their toll, but he certainly could find a spot in the Patriots’ defense, especially against the AFC East team he knows so well. He’ll likely get plenty of action alongside linebacker Dont’a Hightower.
Harris missed only one game last year, and prior to that, he hadn’t missed a game since 2008.
Mauldin arrested. Jets linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin was arrested Wednesday morning after he turned himself in to authorities, a New York Police Department spokeswoman said. The 6-4, 243-pound Mauldin was charged with misdemeanor assault, she said, and allegedly was involved in an April 2 altercation inside a Manhattan nightclub.
Mauldin also is being sued by 22-year-old Jean Lopez, who said he suffered multiple facial fractures as a result of the alleged incident. Mauldin is accused of punching Lopez, who also is suing others involved. Lopez previously said the beating occurred as a result of his spilling champagne on Mauldin in Chelsea’s Highline Ballroom.
Mauldin, a Jets third-round pick in 2015, started three games last season, playing in 11. His court date is set for Aug. 16.