The New Orleans Saints have eight remaining players scheduled to become unrestricted free agents on March 10, plus three restricted free agents. Here’s a breakdown on RFA offensive tackle Bryce Harris:
Experience: Heading into fourth season
Outlook: The Saints need to upgrade their backup left tackle spot – where Harris was not a good fit last year in a handful of appearances as an injury replacement. However, Harris has played well in the past as a backup right tackle and an extra blocker in jumbo run packages. So the Saints might want to bring him back again to compete in that role.
But if they do, they’ll likely want to seek a cheaper deal than the minimum restricted free agent tender (projected to be around $1.5 million).
Harris, who began his career with the Atlanta Falcons in 2012 as an undrafted rookie out of Fresno State, has been solid as a run blocker at times. But he never looked like a natural fit as a pass protector on the left side – even during training camp – when the Saints started cross-training him last summer to be their top backup on both sides.
Harris struggled mightily while filling in for injured left tackle Terron Armstead late in the season – especially in home losses to Carolina and Atlanta. I credited Harris with just one sack allowed (against Carolina in Week 14). But Pro Football Focus credited him with seven QB hurries allowed in each of those two games. The Saints’ entire line imploded as they gave up a total of five sacks in that Week 16 loss to Atlanta.