New York Jets release LB David Harris, to cut Eric Decker

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — The New York Jets will part ways with veteran receiver Eric Decker, just hours after the team officially released longtime linebacker David Harris.

The Jets are planning to trade or release Decker this week, sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. Decker, 30, underwent hip and shoulder surgery last fall, but he’s healthy and has been practicing.

“I’ve talked to Eric. We have advised Eric that if a trade doesn’t happen, we’ll move forward [without him],” said Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan.

The moves continued a stunning offseason purge by the Jets, who already had dumped several veterans, including Darrelle Revis, Nick Mangold, Brandon Marshall and Calvin Pryor.

By cutting Harris and Decker, the Jets will save $13.75 million in cash payroll for 2017.

Jessie James Decker, the receiver’s wife, took to Twitter to tell Jets fans that “we will miss you guys.”

Because of injuries, Decker was limited to three games last season. In his three seasons with the Jets, he caught 163 passes for 2,183 yards and 19 touchdowns.

The Jets’ top receivers are Quincy Enunwa and Robby Anderson, who have a combined 100 career catches.

Without Decker and Harris, the Jets will have only four players age 30 or older on the roster: Josh McCown (37), Tanner Purdum (32), Matt Forte (31) and Steve McLendon (31).

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Harris, 33, the Jets’ longest-tenured player, was blindsided by the move. He practiced Tuesday in his usual spot at starting middle linebacker, and later talked with ESPN about his longevity — the only holdover from the Eric Mangini era (2006-08).

Minutes later, he was summoned to coach Todd Bowles’ office for the bad news.

“It was an organizational decision,” said Bowles, who didn’t seem in favor of the move. “They were talking about a pay reduction and they didn’t come to an agreement — we didn’t come to an agreement, and it eventually led to this.

“It wasn’t an easy time. David has been a Jet all his life. He was born and bled green. Obviously, he was a guy very well-liked in the building. … It’s part of the business. It’s never an easy thing.”

Bowles admitted it “happened at a bad time,” adding “there was a breakdown in talks.” The Jets approached Harris only a few days ago about a pay cut.

The Jets reacquired linebacker Demario Davis last Thursday in a trade with the Cleveland Browns, but that had no bearing on Harris, Bowles said. Indeed, there was in a sense in the organization before the Davis trade that Harris was in jeopardy, sources said.

Harris’ agents, Brian Mackler and Jim Ivler, expressed their displeasure in a statement to Schefter.

“Very disappointing in the timing of this event and the decision,” the statement said. “The Jets could have 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.”

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Retirement is an option for Harris, sources told Schefter.

Now the Jets have a hole at middle linebacker. Potential replacements include Davis, Bruce Carter and Julian Stanford, according to Bowles.

Bowles seemed puzzled by the decision to wait until early June, considering that waiting this long had no benefit in terms of the salary cap.

“That’s a good question,” Bowles said. “Talks broke down. I wasn’t in the meetings. It happened abruptly, obviously.”

Bowles sidestepped questions about whether he supported the decision.

“I’m in favor of what we decided as an organization,” he said.

Harris was one of his favorite players. Bowles often referred to him as “the glue” on defense, always effusively praising his quiet leadership.

Harris, a second-round pick in 2007, ranks No. 2 in tackles in team history (1,260). He called the defensive signals for Bowles’ defense and played 87 percent of the defensive snaps last season.

Known for his durability, Harris started and played in 137 of the last 138 games. He missed one game last season, snapping his streak of 121 consecutive starts.

Before receiving the bad news, Harris told ESPN that he welcomed the return of Davis, who played with the Jets from 2012 to 2015. He was acquired in a trade that sent disgruntled safety Calvin Pryor to the Browns.

“It was unexpected,” Harris said of the trade, “but it’s the NFL. Crazy stuff happens all the time.”

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