- Anthony Harris is one of the best free agent defensive players
- Harris’ free agency will be a crucial one for several franchises
- Which teams are suitable landing spots?
In a league that emphasizes throwing the football more than ever, the importance of deploying high quality defensive backs in the NFL has increased.
This year’s crop of free agents features a couple of talented players in the secondary who could be difference makers next season. We’ll focus on Minnesota Vikings free safety Anthony Harris in this preview.
Although the 29 year old has not yet made any Pro Bowls in his career, he figures to be an interesting case, and a worthwhile gamble, for teams needing help on the back end of their defense.
Unfortunately for Harris, his contract year was spent playing in a woefully underperforming Vikings defense. However, he should still have suitors willing to take the chance that he’s more of the player he showed in 2019. Two seasons ago, Harris reeled in 6 interceptions, and 11 passes defended, which is the player teams are hoping they’ll get in 2021. Where might he land in 2021 NFL free agency?
Seattle hoped that Quandre Diggs would fly around the back of their secondary in 2020, but the team gave up the second most passing yards in the NFL last season. 2021 is the final season of Diggs’ contract, and while Seattle might keep him thinking he’ll be motivated in a contract year, it probably wouldn’t stop them from pursuing Harris.
Russell Wilson commented last week about the lack of protection the Seahawks’ offensive line affords him. What would also help him out is a defense that can keep the team out of wild shootouts that expose their quarterback to hits 50-60 times a game.
The Broncos will have an interesting decision of their own coming up when they mull over whether to bring back safety Justin Simmons. Simmons and Harris are probably the two best safeties in this year’s free agent class, and Denver has to be keen to retain Simmons or bring a high quality replacement.
Unfortunately for Denver, they have the misfortune of being stuck in an AFC West division with Patrick Mahomes.
If his rookie season was any indication, Los Angeles Chargers QB Justin Herbert will also be a force for a long time. The Broncos may not be able to shut down these players consistently moving forward, but they will at least need to present a formidable challenge in order to remain in games.
The Jaguars have so many pressing needs on their roster that a safety, even one as talented as Harris, may not register highly on their priority list. However, they are projected to have the most cap space of any team in the NFL this offseason, and could afford to make a “luxury signing” in order to get back into contention.
Jacksonville ended up allowing the third most passing touchdowns in the NFL last season, and the second highest yards per completion figure. While one player won’t fix that problem, Harris’ ability to provide solid coverage on the back end should help prevent big plays, and reduce that yards per completion figure to a more respectable number.