The Raiders gave safety Erik Harris a low contract tender heading into restricted free agency.
He’ll never play a snap for that offer amount.
Harris agreed on terms of a two-year, $6.5 million deal with $2.5 million guaranteed, a league source said Friday morning.
That was easy money allotted. Harris proved a quality defender after years pigeonholed as a special teams player. He had 432 defensive snaps in 2018, after playing just six in his two previous NFL seasons. He excelled playing free safety, where he made four starts including the season’s final three.
He’ll be in the mix to compete for that job, likely against some imports from free agency or the draft. Harris took the long road to the NFL, taking factory jobs to support his family after leaving the California University of Pennsylvania. He got noticed while playing for the CFL’s Hamilton TigerCats, and got his firth NFL gig with New Orleans before getting a real chance to play in Oakland.
Now he has more security than ever after capitalizing on this Raiders opportunity.
“It’s huge because I was up in Canada for three years, so every six months I was moving from Canada back to the United States," Harri said in a conference call. "After I got released by the Saints I got picked up by the Raiders – just a lot of instability. My family, they’ve been staying in Louisiana when I’ve been in Oakland. Just to have the stability and just know that my kids are set up for life, it’s just life changing.”
Harris took the long road to a steady NFL gig, and is happy to be signed up for the next two seasons. He could've sought an offer on the open market creatively structured to make it hard for the Raiders to match, but he chose to stay put for several reasons.
“I mean, we knew there was interest and we wanted to try to get something done," Harris said. "In the past five years this is probably the best safety free agency group there has been, and I knew that, and I took that into consideration. I also took into consideration the way the locker room and the organization views my character. I’ll be 29, so I took that into consideration. Money isn’t everything. Obviously, it’s nice and this is life-changing for my family but being somewhere where people respect you for your character and leadership – that means a lot more to me as well.”
The Raiders have cornerback Daryl Worley and Jalen Richard set to enter restricted free agency, and have given both players second-round tenders that make it prohibitive for the competition to sign him away.