The playmaking linebacker signed a new four-year deal Tuesday night after Harris originally looked into an extension last year. A person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press that the contract is worth $36 million, with $29.5 million guaranteed. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because neither the team nor Harris' agent announced the financial terms.
That came after Harris waited as general manager Mike Tannenbaum took care of other players first and gave out big money. Harris signed his franchise tender before the NFL lockout began in March, but agent Brian Mackler said they tore up the tag and worked out a completely new contract.
"Every player takes it differently," Harris said. "Coming from a humble background, a blue-collar background, I knew that Mike would come through on his promise and I just wanted to focus on football and not focus on the contract and the business side of it. I just want to go out there and help my teammates win games, and I'm glad that it's all done with."
Mackler added that the deal includes the highest amount of guaranteed money -- but wouldn't say how much -- for an inside linebacker on a four-year contract. Carolina's Jon Beason recently signed a five-year, $50 million extension with $25 million guaranteed, according to published reports.
Harris thanked the team "for allowing me to play my career out as a New York Jet."
After Tuesday morning's walkthrough, Harris said he expected an extension to be worked out soon. A few hours later, he had the new deal. Harris didn't practice, Mackler said, just to be cautious.
"We're really glad that he'll be here for a really long time," Tannenbaum said. "From a GM's perspective, it's a dream to have someone like David, not only what he does on the field, but off the field and how he conducts himself in such a professional way. When you have those types of people, you do everything you can to make sure they never leave your locker room."
The 27-year-old Harris was drafted in the second round out of Michigan in 2007 after the Jets traded up to get him. He became a starter after the Jets traded Jonathan Vilma before the 2008 season. He has 428 tackles, 14 1/2 sacks, two interceptions and five forced fumbles in four seasons, and is one of the keys to coach Rex Ryan's aggressive defense as he calls the signals for the unit.
"He's a real traditional three-down linebacker and even when we play all of our substitution packages, going back to our playoff game against the Patriots when (Ryan) had 11 DBs up for the game, David played so much," Tannenbaum said. "He can blitz, cover, (is) good in between the tackles. I can say all these good things now that we signed him."
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press