LA Chargers: Damon Harrison would be a perfect last-minute addition
By Jason Reed
The LA Chargers should pursue free agent defensive tackle Damon Harrison.
Training camp has begun and we are just over a month away from the LA Chargers‘ scheduled Week 1 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals. It appears as if the Chargers are done making any additions to the roster, however, a perfect addition does exist on the market.
Veteran nose tackle Damon Harrison is still a free agent after being released by the Detroit Lions earlier in the offseason. Despite the team signing Linval Joseph earlier in the offseason, the Chargers could really use a veteran tackle like Harrison for depth purposes.
The team currently has Joseph, Jerry Tillery, Justin Jones and Damion Square as the four-best players at nose tackle. This group is fine, but it is one injury away from being exposed and still is not a guarantee to be great in defending the run.
Joseph has been solid in run defense and should be a positive addition to the roster. There are still question marks around the other defensive tackles.
Harrison may not have had a fantastic season last year but he has consistently been one of the best run-stuffing defensive tackles in the league. Harrison posted a 93.7 run defense grade on Pro Football Focus in 2018 and posted a grade above 90 in every season from 2015 to 2018.
The former All-Pro was not a great fit in Detroit but he still did play 15 games and 46 percent of the Lions’ defensive snaps.
How Damon Harrison would fit on the LA Chargers:
At this point of his career, a 31-year-old Harrison is not someone who is going to be playing the majority of snaps on defense and thriving. In fact, Harrison has never even played more than 61 percent of the defensive snaps in a season, so he has always been someone that was utilized in running downs.
The same would happen on the LA Chargers. The team could use him in earlier downs to help secure the run. He is not the greatest pass-rusher in the world, but with an elite secondary and one of the best edge-rushing duos in the league, as well as Joseph, the team would be just fine taking a slight sacrifice in pass-rushing at nose tackle in early downs.
Later downs, particularly passing downs, can be reserved for guys like Tillery and Justin Jones, with Square serving as the emergency depth option. Harrison would be hugely impactful for the Chargers, as he could help unlock the key to turn the Chargers’ defense from great to elite.
He is not going to cost much, either. Joseph got a two-year $17 million contract and he had a market. At this point in the calendar, Harrison is going to get a one-year deal and the Chargers can afford to slightly overpay for a one-year contract.
And again, overpaying still probably is not that much. I would say an “overpay” for Harrison would be ~$7.5 million. The LA Chargers can afford that.