Dwayne Harris will be Giants return specialist in 2017 despite shaky 2016 Pro Bowl season

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Oct 9, 2016; Green Bay, WI, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Dwayne Harris (17) during the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Green Bay won 23-16. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Dwayne Harris’ 2016 season wasn’t as good as he’d hoped it would be.

On one hand, the New York Giants wide receiver was named to his first Pro Bowl thanks to his talents as a gunner. On the other hand, Harris played only 11 snaps on offense in 2016. His lone reception was a 13-yard touchdown against the hapless Cleveland Browns.


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Harris was primarily used on special teams last season. His decision making and ball security left much to be desired. Harris averaged 24.2 yards on kickoff returns and a measly 5.9 yards on punts. He also had three fumbles.

In spite of his 2016 foibles, Harris will be the return specialist going into 2017 says special teams coordinator Tom Quinn.

“Yes,” Quinn said when asked if Harris would be the return specialist. “We’ve always needed two or three guys since I’ve been here to be able to handle those roles. You have Dwayne, you have (wide receiver) Odell (Beckham Jr.). Kickoff returns he (Harris) was fine. On punt returns, he took a step back, which we don’t like. We’ve talked about it and addressed the things we want to improve upon.”

Beckham is capable of taking it to the house on every return but the Giants may not want to risk an injury to their most explosive weapon on offense. Besides, Harris does have four career returns for a touchdown.

Harris is entering the third year of a five-year deal. He has a little extra financial incentive to perform well.

The Giants wanted Harris to restructure his contract or take a pay cut. He was originally scheduled to make $2.975 million. Harris will now make $2.475 million after a compromise was made between player and team.

It is unknown if the $500,000 the Giants saved against their cap was turned into a bonus or an outright pay cut.

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