The Jets have not been shy in aggressively parting ways with franchise legends over the past two years. Veteran linebacker David Harris is the latest cog in their 2009 and 2010 AFC title runs to fall by the wayside.

The Jets released the 33-year-old on Tuesday, Jets coach Todd Bowles announced. A second-round pick out of Michigan in 2007, Harris has missed just one game in the last eight years. A staple at middle linebacker through three different head coaches, he was one of the team’s unquestioned leaders during the height of their success seven years ago.

Bowles told reporters the move was “an organizational decision” after the team’s attempt to negotiate a contract reduction “broke down.”


In a statement obtained by NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, Harris’ agents, Brian Mackler and Jim Ivler of Sportstars, wrote, “Very disappointed in the timing of this event and the decision. The Jets could’ve done this prior to free agency instead of waiting three months, especially for a player who has exhibited nothing but loyalty and class for 10 years.”

Harris led the team in tackles last year, with 62 solo stops.

So it goes for the Jets, who have now said goodbye to seven-time Pro Bowler Nick Mangold, three-time Pro Bowler D’Brickashaw Ferguson, seven-time Pro Bowler Darrelle Revis and four-time Pro Bowler Antonio Cromartie all in the last year and a half.

The team recently re-acquired Demario Davis from the Browns, a former understudy of Harris’ who will likely assume that role again in 2017.

Owner Woody Johnson was honest about the club’s pivot toward youth, though Harris was expected to survive. He will save the Jets $6.5 million against the cap, according to salary cap site Over The Cap.

The difficult part about any youth movement is a leadership void. The Jets‘ defense is now being run emotionally by the likes of Sheldon Richardson, Muhammad Wilkerson and Leonard Williams.

Waving goodbye to the longest-tenured player in the locker room increases the difficulty of an already uphill climb.

UPDATE: Harris isn’t the only player leaving the Jets. Garafolo reported Tuesday the team will either release or trade wide receiver Eric Decker this week.

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