Zach Gotlieb | May 28th, 2019
As the Denver Broncos get into their offseason training activities and signing their newest draftees to rookie contracts, there’s still one loose end that needs to be tied, and it may be coming close to an end. That is the contract dispute with star cornerback Chris Harris Jr.
Currently, Harris will be getting paid a base salary of $7.8 million this year which is an absolute bargain for the Broncos. A couple of days before the draft, Harris asked for an extension with an average annual value of $15 million, which would make him one of the top three highest-paid corners in the National Football League. Since then, general manager John Elway and Chris Harris’ agent, Frederick Lyles Jr. have been talking back and forth about possible extensions.
Original reports had been saying that Harris was offered a three-year deal and those reports died pretty quick. The newest reports from the last few days or so are saying that instead of a contract extension, the team and is working with Harris on a pay increase that will be around the requested $15 million for this upcoming season, per 9News reporter Mike Klis. The missing keyword is an extension.
At the end of last season Harris spoke about his future and whether it would be with the Broncos saying, “I want to win, so whatever situation is best for me at the time. We’ll see what new coaches we get. It’s late in my career, and I can’t waste any years anymore.” There are couple layers to this, one being a concern from a fan’s perspective since he’s previously spoken about wanting to retire a Bronco and now sounding non-committal. The other part is that he is willing to give this year a shot, talking about seeing what happens with the coaching search, but he’s made it clear, if Denver is going to go into rebuild mode, he will not be a part of it.
Given that, it’s helpful that every move the Broncos have made this offseason has been to compete right now. While they drafted their quarterback of the future in Drew Lock, they also picked up 34-year-old veteran Joe Flacco in hopes that he can get back to the level he played at when he won Super Bowl MVP of Super Bowl 47. They signed right tackle Ja’Wuan James and drafted Dalton Risner to protect Flacco, while also fortifying the defense by adding to legitimate starters in Bryce Callahan and Kareem Jackson to play alongside Chris Harris and Von Miller. All moves that are meant to help the Broncos compete with the likes of Patrick Mahomes’ cannon arm and the great pass rush of the Los Angeles Chargers this year and possibly the last pitch to keep Chris Harris in Denver.
However, speaking of only a pay raise and not a full contract extension, it could also be a sign that the Broncos could be ready to move on from “Strap” Harris after the 2019-2020 season which just doesn’t make sense. He’s in the middle of his prime, and the team just paid Kareem Jackson, 33 years old, $11.5 million annually and doesn’t have the accolades that Harris does. With all that being said, this contract dispute may be coming to an end via a mere pay raise but come next offseason, this dispute could be only the beginning, and it could get ugly for the Broncos.
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