The Buffalo Bills surely didn’t break the bank to lure Damien Harris away from the New England Patriots.
Harris signed a one-year deal to join Buffalo, but the Bills reportedly will pay the running back a very modest amount for his services. According to NFL reporter Ari Meirov, Harris’ base salary for his one season with the Bills is $1.7 million.
That’s certainly not a large amount of money as the contract terms make it look like a prove-it deal for Harris, who was overshadowed by the emergence of Rhamondre Stevenson in his final season with the Patriots.
Harris has been hampered by injuries throughout his career, including this past season when he missed six games. But the deal with the Bills will give the 26-year-old a chance to show he can play close to a full season while looking to be an asset in a high-powered Bills offense alongside dynamic quarterback Josh Allen. And if Harris can add a dimension to Buffalo’s offense, he will set himself up for a much larger payday in 2024 when he can test free agency again.
The contract figures for Harris are a bit striking, though, especially given the money the Patriots handed out to James Robinson earlier this offseason. According to an ESPN report, Robinson signed a two-year, $8 million deal with the Patriots.
Robinson is a couple of years younger than Harris and had a breakout rookie campaign with the Jacksonville Jaguars, but dealt with a significant Achilles injury during the latter portion of the 2021 season. He then was traded to the Jets during the middle of the season last year and had a brief and underwhelming tenure with New York.
But even with Harris not getting a sizeable contract, it’s clear the Patriots felt their money would be better spent elsewhere.