It wasn’t the biggest wide receiver news of the night, but on Thursday Deonte Harris signed his RFA tender to remain with the Saints (Twitter link via ESPN’s Field Yates). The 24-year-old will stay in New Orleans for at least one more season.
Harris made an impact at the start of his career as the team’s primary returner. In 2019, he averaged 26.8 yards on kickoffs; he also led the league in punt returns (36) and yards (338), running one back for a touchdown. His special teams prowess earned him Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors, and has remained a staple of his game.
Given the state of the team’s WR corps this season, though, Harris took on a much larger offensive role. In the absence of Michael Thomas, he became a key figure in the Saint’s passing game. Despite only starting one of 13 games, he totalled 36 catches for 570 yards and three touchdowns. Not surprisingly, given his speed, he averaged an impressive 15.8 yards per reception. His offensive totals would have been higher if not for a three-game suspension he served in December for a DWI arrest.
Given that Harris was offered a second-round tender, he will earn just under $4MM in 2022. He may revert more towards his more familiar special teams role given the expected return of Thomas and the team’s addition of Chris Olave last night. If not, though, he has proven an ability to be at least a complimentary piece in the receiving corps.