OT Bryce Harris came to Atlanta without much fanfare. The Falcons picked him up off of waivers from the New Orleans Saints back in September. Since that time, he played only 16 snaps. Here is what I had to say about the transaction back then.
Saints fans on twitter were happy to see Harris cut yesterday, but the Falcons were likely looking for a healthy tackle with some game experience. Harris is a 6-foot-6, 300-pound tackle with 4 career starts and 34 career games played. Hard to do much better than that in early September.
Harris was eventually replaced by Jake Long as the backup tackle. This is an interesting situation. Both Harris and Long are slotted for free agency, but Atlanta would likely prefer to not replace both backup tackles in one offseason.
These players could not possibly be more different. Long is a great player when healthy, but ended up signing a small deal with Atlanta after returning from yet another injury. Harris is young, cheap, and has at least been durable.
With Atlanta's limited draft picks this year, it makes sense to try to retain Harris as depth early in the offseason. If Schraeder and Matthews continue with their dominant and healthy play, the team would be best served with one cheap veteran and one developmental tackle. Looking at free agency, it looks unlikely that Atlanta could find a clear upgrade over Harris at a similar price.
I never thought I would turn into a Harris supporter, but here we are. If the coaching staff liked Harris, it would make sense to lock him up for a short deal as Atlanta's third or fourth tackle.