If it were 2007, Clinton Portis and Tommie Harris would be rockstar free agents.
But in 2011, neither is likely to garner too much attention on the open market.
On the same day that Portis was cut, so too was Harris. The former first-round pick was one of three players released by the Bears this afternoon.
Harris has superstar talent. At 27, he’s already been to three Pro Bowls. But he’s no longer the player he was three years ago. He was due to make almost $5 million in 2011, which is far too expensive for a guy who can’t stay healthy and simply isn’t effective enough to start regularly as part of a good defence.
He was a dominant defensive tackle for a short window, but he’s been nothing more than a decent backup since. He wasn’t worth that kind of money. But big guys who can get to the quarterback are valuable, and you can bet that there’ll be a team or two willing to give Harris a second chance … for the right price.
Harris is free to sign anywhere, right now. But he’d have to work quickly to get something done. Once a work stoppage is declared (likely late on Thursday night) all player movement is frozen.
Linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer and offensive lineman Kevin Shaffer were also cut loose by the Bears. Hillenmeyer was one of the team’s NFLPA player reps and had been very active during the recent bargaining sessions. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with him now.