NFL free agency took a bit of a hit this year after all of the top players were retained by their current teams. One of those players was safety Anthony Harris, who was slapped with the franchise tag by the Minnesota Vikings.
Harris signed his franchise tender worth $11.4 million, and now the Vikings have the unenviable task of trying to give him a long-term contract extension by the July 15 deadline. If anything, that’s proven to be the wrong move for Minnesota.
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) May 17, 2020
Prior to the tag, Harris was set to have a huge list of suitors on the open market. But the Vikings foolishly decided to franchise him with hopes of trading him to another team for draft capital. That strategy works some of the time, but it becomes too much of a nuisance to deal with, especially with a high-profile player carrying a big salary. A team will rarely ever get the value they want and opt to keep the player, a la the Jacksonville Jaguars with Yannick Ngakoue. How is that decision working out? Not well.
The Vikings learned that the hard way, as they pivoted to trying to lock him into a long-term contract extension shortly after the trade market fizzled out. Reports last month indicated that while Minnesota was adamant on securing Harris’ services for the foreseeable future, the safety showed some restraint in talks with the team. That once again prompted the Vikings to put him back on the trade block before the NFL Draft.
ICYMI: I ranked every offseason from 1-32 https://t.co/7luFIdoV9F
— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) May 21, 2020
And here we are again, as Minnesota again opened the door to negotiations with Harris. There’s no denying how good of a player Harris is, as evidenced by his six interceptions last season. But this “big-brain move” has handicapped the Vikings from making additional moves in free agency, despite their urgent needs at edge rusher and cornerback.
In hindsight, the Vikings should’ve avoided this headache altogether and just let Harris get the contract he deserves with another team instead of trying to squeeze a draft pick out of another team — especially when you consider the fact Minnesota had the most selections of anybody last month.