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Jets leaning toward franchising Harris

New York Jets linebacker David Harris (52) makes

New York Jets linebacker David Harris (52) makes an interception in front of New England Patriots running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis (42) on a pass thrown by Tom Brady during the first half of an NFL divisional playoff football game. (Jan. 16, 2011) Photo Credit: AP

With 17 impending free agents, the Jets have several decisions to make on key individuals.

Looks like they may be getting closer to making their first one.

The Jets will likely place their franchise tag on linebacker David Harris, a source with knowledge of the situation confirmed. The team is leaning in that direction, a source said, but the Jets have yet to inform Harris of their intentions.

Teams can begin applying the franchise tag Feb. 10, and it would guarantee Harris a one-year salary in the neighborhood of $10 million -- last season's number was roughly $9.6 million. But it's somewhat unclear exactly how everything would work out because of the unsettled labor situation.

General manager Mike Tannenbaum has made it known that re-signing Harris, voted as the team's MVP this past season by his teammates, is a top priority and the Jets want to lock up the final member of the team's "Core Four."

Left tackle and Freeport native D'Brickashaw Ferguson, as well as cornerback Darrelle Revis and center Nick Mangold each signed new deals within the past six months.

Even if Harris is slapped with the tag, the Jets can still work out a long-term deal with one of the heart and souls of their defense. The 27-year-old is a tackle machine, leading the Jets with 99 combined tackles this past season, his fourth in the league. He also posted three sacks.

"David has done a lot of great things for us on and off the field," Tannenbaum said Jan. 28. "We expect him to be here for years to come. We are into what the nuances of what [will happen] when the old system ends and the new one begins and the rules [pertaining to the systems]. Those are things we are still trying to figure out.

"When we know all of the specific rules of those systems, we will move forward, but David is a top priority."

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