David Harris: Pats are 'the gold standard of the NFL'

David Harris: Pats are 'the gold standard of the NFL'

David Harris says it was "kind of disappointing" to be released by the Jets after 10 years with the team. But it didn't take him long to get over his disappointment.

Harris made one visit, and one visit only, during his brief stint as a free agent: To New England. And the veteran linebacker signed a two-year contract on the spot.

"They reached out to me and I pretty much accepted on the spot that I wanted to play there," Harris said from his football camp in Grand Rapids, Mich. "Great organization. They're the gold standard of the NFL. Why wouldn't you want to be a part of that?"

 

Patriots reportedly sign former Jets LB David Harris to two-year pact

Patriots reportedly sign former Jets LB David Harris to two-year pact

There weren't many spots on the Patriots roster that needed an upgrade before Wednesday. One could have made the argument, though, that there were question marks at linebacker.

The Patriots took a step toward answering any uncertainty at that spot by signing former Jets 'backer David Harris, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Harris, 33, was released earlier this month as the Jets made moves to get some salary-cap relief. He played more snaps (900) than any other Jets defender in 2016 not named Darrelle Revis and finished the season with one sack, one quarterback hit and 11 quarterback hurries, per Pro Football Focus. 

Patriots coach Bill Belichick has long admired the 6-foot-2, 250-pounder for his durability and his ability to communicate with teammates, serving as a link between the Jets secondary and its defensive line. He played in 15 games last season, which was the first time he missed a regular-season game since 2008.

"I have a lot of respect for David Harris," Belichick said back in 2014. "That guy is, first of all, he never comes of the field. Not [just] this year, but any year. The guy is like a 98, 99 percent playtime player for them every year, year after year.

"It’s obviously as defense that has a lot of communication and adjustments and he’s certainly at the center of that, both as the signal caller and then at the line of scrimmage you can see him adjusting the front or making some type of communication calls to his teammates.

"He’s a very instinctive player, which unfortunately we’ve seen that firsthand. He does a good job for them. He’s been very consistent, durable, dependable, productive over a long period of time . . . He’s out there in every situation: third-and-inches or third-and-40. You’re going to find him out there doing something. He’s a big, explosive guy. [He] can rush, can cover, good run player and instinctive. He knows where the ball is so that accounts for a lot of his production."

The Patriots have a handful of players who will now compete for time alongside last year's captain and recently re-signed linebacker Dont'a Hightower in Harris, Kyle Van Noy, Elandon Roberts, Shea McClellin and Jonathan Freeny. Undrafted rookies Harvey Langi and Brooks Ellis were added this offseason to give the linebacker room some depth.