New York Giants: 15 best free agent acquisitions of all-time

New York Giants. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
New York Giants. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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Damon Harrison, New York Giants
Damon Harrison, New York Giants. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) /

2016-18. Damon Harrison. 9. player. 31. . Defensive Tackle

  • Undrafted free agent, played at William Penn University (NAIA)
  • Selected First-Team All Pro in 2016
  • Chosen as 96th of NFL’s Top 100 players by his peers (2017)
  • Signed 5-year, $46.25 million contract with Giants on Mar. 9, 2016

Another member of Jerry Reese’s free agent class of 2016, Damon Harrison was plucked away from the New York Jets, after a successful four-year stint with Gang Green. It was with the Jets where Harrison received his nickname – “Snacks”.

Per Sports Illustrated:

"“[Defensive line coach Karl] Dunbar used to put Rice Krispies Treats on my desk in the meeting room, just to see if I’d eat them,” Harrison recalled. “In the beginning, I would, but then I saw he was sending me a message telling me I needed to lose weight. So I would get them and I would put them on other people’s desks. So then I stopped eating the Rice Krispies and I would come in there with like sandwiches or salads or something.”"

Eventually the message got to Harrison, who came to the NFL by way of tiny William Penn University in Iowa. As an undrafted free agent, Harrison didn’t see the field much in his rookie season of 2012, but by 2013, he was an NFL regular.

After the 2015 NFL season, the Jets opted not to try to ink Harrison to an extension, and he became a free agent. He signed with the Giants on March 9, 2016 to a contract averaging $9.25 million per season. His contract was deemed a lot of cash for an interior defender.

In his first season with Big Blue, Harrison was named First-Team All-Pro. That season, Harrison helped the Giants make the playoffs by accumulating 86 total tackles and 2.5 quarterback sacks, according to Pro Football Reference.

That website lists his Approximate Value (AP) for the 2016 NFL season at a whopping 18. To give that number some context, it is the same value that the Baltimore Ravens’ Haloti Ngata achieved in 2011. Ngata was widely acclaimed to be the best nose tackle in the business, for a five-year period.

As the G-Men traded assets away at the 2018 NFL trade deadline, Harrison was shipped to the Detroit Lions for a draft pick. In his Giants career, he finished with 193 tackles, including 17 tackles for loss. His presence was missed down the stretch, as the Giants lost several close games after he was traded.