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Free Agent Profile: Chris Harris Jr.

The Denver Broncos could be saying goodbye to one of its all-time great players in Chris Harris Jr.

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Denver Broncos Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos could be seeing the end of an era as their Ring of Fame cornerback heads into free agency this offseason. Chris Harris Jr. came to Denver as an undrafted player out of Kansas and has been nothing short of outstanding in his nine seasons there. He and Von Miller were the cornerstones of a defense that ultimately led the franchise to a Super Bowl title in 2015.

Those are memories that’ll never be diminished. However, without an extension, Harris is now poised to hit the open market. Should Denver try to re-sign him?

What kind of contract could he get

The Broncos offered Chris Harris Jr. a three-year, $36 million contract prior to the trade deadline last season, but the offer was not accepted.

Will he find that kind of money on the open market when free agency hits in March? Cornerback is a premier position, but at $12 million a year he would be in the Top 15 in the NFL in salary at the position. Is he still a Top 15 cornerback?

Why the Broncos should sign him

Aside from the Broncos not having a guy on the roster right now that could replace Chris Harris Jr. even if Harris has lost a step or two, a good reason to re-sign him could be to keep him away from an AFC West rival. Broncos Wire found an interesting, if disconcerting, comment from The Rich Eisen Show last week that should have us on edge.

“I’m going to listen to everybody, man,” Harris said when asked by Eisen if he would sign with Kansas City during free agency. “I’m listening to everybody for sure. I mean, Kansas, I went to school there, so that’s like another home for me.

“[I have] a big following there so I’m definitely looking at everybody but like you said, I mean, I don’t see why it wouldn’t be a good fit.”

Why the Broncos shouldn’t sign him

At 30 years old, Harris is coming off his most difficult season. A season that saw him give up more yards and catches than he has his entire career. I am sure some of that has to do with him playing outside and shadowing the opposing teams top wide receiving threat, but some likely has to do with his age as well.

It might be too big of a risk for John Elway to take with such a young roster that is likely a couple of years away from contending if things go as planned. The cap dollars might be better spent elsewhere.

Final word

As much as it pains this fan to admit that a future Ring of Fame player like Chris Harris Jr. is likely on his way out this offseason, the Broncos will probably be better off anyway. Harris has a few years left in the tank and should go find a contender to play for, because by the time Denver gets back into it he’ll likely be just about ready to hang ‘em up.

Either way, I’ll be rooting for him. He’s been one of my favorite players to watch for the last nine years and that won’t change. Well, unless he goes to a team I despise, then I’ll quietly forget that he plays there.


Should the Broncos try to re-sign Chris Harris Jr?

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