NFL Free Agency Primer: Damien Harris

The regular season has come to a close, and most teams have already begun the complicated process of preparing for the 2023 season. As the new league year approaches, we'll be covering the impending free agents most capable of shifting the balance of power in the NFL.

The Player: Damien Harris

Running back Damien Harris has thrived in a limited role for the New England Patriots, compiling 2094 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns at an efficient 4.7 yards per attempt over his 38 appearances. He's been a sometimes starter for the Pats ever since coming into the league as a third-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, for better and worse: he's never proven he can be an every-down back, but he hasn't accrued many miles. We know for certain he can be an effective inside runner, but it remains to be seen if he's capable of anything more.

The Fit:

The Patriots are always reluctant to feed any one individual back to excess, so just how big a load Harris can carry is a mystery. He was their first choice on inside runs over the past three years, but he never flashed much in the passing game. Given the Patriots' proclivity to pepper their backs with targets, it's unlikely he's hiding undiscovered talent as a receiver. He seems best suited to being a complementary, hard-hitting back who isn't relied on for third downs.

The Contract:

Harris lost his status as the Patriots' top back to promising second-year runner Rhamondre Stevenson, so he's unlikely to get a significant offer from New England. He'll have to settle for a modest multi-year deal as a rotational back. He probably shouldn't expect to exceed the three-year, $12.384 million deal Gus Edwards signed with the Baltimore Ravens in 2021.

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