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John Elway and Broncos reach contract impasse with Chris Harris Jr.

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Yesterday afternoon, Denver Broncos General Manager John Elway stated he “didn’t have time” to address a revised contract for star cornerback Chris Harris Jr. Several hours later, the All-Pro defensive back fired back with a simple demand — pay me or trade me.

Good morning, Broncos Country.

A lot can happen in just a short amount of time. Yesterday’s action-packed and drama-filled headline surrounding the Denver Broncos was living proof of that. In case you missed it, here is the Cliff Notes version of what transpired in the past 24 hours.

During his annual pre-NFL Draft press conference, John Elway was asked about the current status of contract negotiations with star cornerback Chris Harris Jr. Elway responded quickly and bluntly, stating he didn’t have time to work on a contract extension for Chris Harris Jr. By late last evening, the All-Pro cornerback had fired off a stark message of his own — pay me or trade me. Two emotionally-fueled comments in a short span of time, likely culminating into a prime example signifying the art of breaking up. Joe Rowles and I joined Adam Malnati and Ian St. Clair on the MHR Radio Podcast (iTunes, Spotify, and Stitcher) to digest the Harris news and try to unearth what it all means.

In my opinion, Elway’s comments were in poor taste. Rather than stating he “didn’t have time” he could have simply remarked, “It’s a situation we look forward to addressing once the draft is over. Chris has been a tremendous player for our franchise and we will do what we can to work things out with him.”

Instead, Elway took the road less traveled and utilized an awful approach that lacked truthfulness, tact and candor. While he is certainly busy with draft preparations, to act and portray that he has no time at all to work on contract extension parameters is downright dubious. Unsurprisingly, his comments were viewed negatively by Harris Jr. — who has no issues releasing retaliatory statements outlining his contractual / situational demands.

Does that mean his demands were reasonable? I’m not so certain. Fifteen million dollars a year is quite a hefty price to invest on a cornerback who is likely nearing the end of his career. On the outside looking in, it’s quite obvious that there is literally a snowball’s chance in Hell that the team actually caves to those demands.

At the end of the day, there is no doubt that Chris Harris Jr. has been a standout performer for the franchise and outperformed his current contract. I’d hate to see him be traded, but from a business perspective, I can completely understand that Elway and the Broncos’ Brass would have a hard time making him the highest paid corner in the league.

All things considered, I expect the two parties to finalize their divorce within the next 48 hours. Unfortunately, I doubt the Broncos will get appropriate value for Harris Jr. and will likely end up settling for far less than what he is truly worth. If this is the end for Harris Jr. in Denver, I’d like to extend my personal thanks for all he has done for Broncos Country.

All good things come to an end. Though I’m of the opinion that if the communication was better in this situation things could have turned out differently.

As always, thank you for reading and here is today’s offering of Horse Tracks.

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