Harris was due to make a $6.5 million in non-guaranteed salary this season, the final year of a three-year contract.
The move was a surprise because of Harris' status as the Jets' longest-tenured player - and it being so late in the offseason.
"He's obviously a guy who is well-liked in the building", Bowles said. His streak of 121 straight games at middle linebacker was snapped in 2016 because of a hamstring injury in Week 6. "I wasn't in those meetings".
After 10 seasons with the Jets, the team is cutting the linebacker.
Bowles sidestepped questions about whether he supported the decision.
Thanks Jets for being so welcoming to us over the past few years! "Talks broke down. It happened abruptly, obviously". Julian Stanford and Bruce Carter are also options.
"I'm in favor of what we decided as an organization", he said. He called the defensive signals for Bowles' defense and played 87 percent of the defensive snaps last season.
Davis, who played with the Jets from 2012 to 2015, had 99 combined tackles in 15 starts for the Cleveland Browns previous year.