New York Giants general manager Dave Gettelman is cleaning house. He began a fire sale on Tuesday by trading away cornerback Eli Apple, a first-round draft pick in 2016, to the New Orleans Saints for fourth- and seventh-round draft picks.
On Wednesday morning, he kept at it, this time dealing one of the Giants’ very best defensive players. Nose tackle Damon Harrison is on the move, and unfortunately for fans of the Green Bay Packers, he’s headed to the NFC North. The Detroit Lions have acquired Harrison in exchange for just a fifth-round draft pick, according to reporting from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
Harrison broke into the NFL with the New York Jets as an undrafted free agent out of William Penn University then signed a five-year contract worth about $46 million with the Giants in 2016. In his first year with the G-Men, Harrison was named first-team All-Pro at nose tackle. That year, he recorded 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble while tallying an whopping 86 total tackles, including six for losses.
Trading Harrison now will cost the Giants $1.6 million in dead money on this year’s salary cap and will shove $3.2 million more in dead money on their cap in 2019. That will leave him with a cap hit of just $7 million for the Lions next year and $9.25 million in the final year of his contract in 2020.
The Lions’ depth chart at defensive tackle had been fairly thin, with just three players listed: former Bronco Sylvester Williams, who is in Detroit on a one-year, $3.5 million contract, 2016 second-round draft pick A’Shawn Robinson, and journeyman Ricky Jean-Francois, a former Packer. Harrison appears to be an immediate upgrade over any of those players and should see significant snaps immediately in Detroit.
The Packers will play the Lions next in week 17, closing out the regular season against them at Lambeau Field.