Harris, who signed with the Lions in 2021 on a one-year, prove-it deal, very much proved his value after starting 14 games for Detroit when Romeo Okwara was lost for the season. He produced 65 tackles (10 for loss), 7.5 sacks, 16 QB hits, 2 forced fumbles, and earned a 68.2 (42nd out of 125 qualifying edge defenders) from PFF.
“He had his best year, in my opinion,” Lions general manager Brad Holmes said of Harris. “A guy that was just in a better place. Just speaking with him, he just loved it here, so we’ll just see where it goes. But, those guys were fits, they fit what we’re about, and those guys played well for us.”
With the Lions set to release Trey Flowers at the start of free agency— Wednesday, March 16—Harris should be penciled in the starting lineup, and at a minimum, he should be expected to be a heavy rotational piece moving forward, depending on how the Lions approach the draft.
With fellow edge starter Romeo Okwara recovering from an Achilles injury, Harris provides the Lions with insurance at the position. He is a player who is familiar with the defensive scheme and has shown capable of producing in said scheme.
Harris’ deal looks very affordable and actually comes in a tick lower than what Jeremy Reisman predicted for Harris in our free-agent profile of him, estimating a deal between $8-10 million to be reasonable based on other free agents with his level of production.
Additionally, if the structure of his contract follows that of other Lions’ players who were recently re-signed, it’s likely to come with a team-friendly first-year cap hit, lower than the $7 million average projects.
You can follow along with all of the Lions’ moves with our free agency tracker.