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The Rebuild Begins: Giants Trade Damon Harrison to Lions

Less than 24 hours after the New York Giants traded Eli Apple to the New Orleans Saints, the team moved another piece of their defensive squad.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports the Giants have traded defensive tackle Damon Harrison to the Detroit Lions in exchange for a 2019 fifth-round draft pick.

Why the Move Was Made

As fans all know, New York is going nowhere fast this season. With the Oakland Raiders already abandoning ship on their 2018 season, the Giants are following suit.

Despite Harrison being arguably the teams best player on defense, he is a product of the previous regime. Then-general manager Jerry Reese signed Harrison to a five-year, $46.25 million deal in 2016, after starting off his career with the Jets. Harrison did have an opt-out clause in his deal following this season. However, it was doubtful he would use it.

If he had stayed in New York, the Giants would be left with a $7 million cap hit in 2019 and $9.25 million against the cap in 2020. With the league getting younger, and with a low amount of draft selections in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Giants needed to make a move to build on draft capital.

So why just a fifth-round pick? Well, it is due to his contract, as well as his age, as he turns 30-years-old next month. Not to mention the youth movement on the team. The Giants have Dalvin Tomlinson and rookies B.J. Hill. and R.J. McIntosh who can fill the void left by Harrison. All three are young, but more importantly, come on the cheap.

Harrison’s Dominant Tenure in New York

Jets fans were livid to see Harrison trade in Gang Green for Big Blue, because they knew the potential he had.

With the Giants, he helped create a rather dominant pass rush in his first full season, as he paired alongside Olivier Vernon and Jason Pierre-Paul. The end result saw the team clinch a Wild Card spot that year, as well as being named First-Team All-Pro by the Associated Press.

In his three years with the Giants, Harrison has recorded 193 total tackles (17 for loss), eight quarterback hits, four sacks, four passes defensed, two forced fumbles, and one interception.

Who’s Next?

With Apple and now Harrison gone from New York, it will remain to be seen who’s next, as the trade deadline is on Oct. 30. Reports have indicated Janoris Jenkins will be moved, as there are teams desperate for a cornerback in the league. However, Olivier Vernon is not expected to be traded at the moment, but those plans can change if the price is right.

Landon Collins could also be a trade option for the Giants, as he is set to hit free agency at the end of the season.

It will certainly be an active week for general manager Dave Gettleman, and it will remain to be seen if any more players will be on the move, as the rebuild is in full effect.

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Scott Rogust
General Editor and New York Giants Lead Writer.
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