As expected, the Denver Broncos exercised Chris Harris’ $1.1 million option to start the 2019 off-season. At 29 years old, Harris is expected to return from a fibula injury sustained during the Broncos’ Week 13 game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Rehabilitation appears to be on schedule and Harris is expected to lead a very thin Broncos Secondary.
Harris, who credits himself with the naming rights to Super Bowl 50’s, “No Fly Zone,” remains among the top cornerbacks in the NFL. Throughout his 8 year career, the undrafted cornerback from Kansas has recorded 19 interceptions, 5 forced fumbles, and 405 solo tackles through 123 games. Harris’ physical mentality covering receivers and his willingness to aide in run support make him a unique defensive back.
Harris originally accepted a team friendly deal prior to the Broncos Super Bowl 50 Championship run. He’s a fan favorite and is a respected leader in the locker room. In early March, the Broncos and Harris reportedly engaged in contract negotiations. However, by signing free agent defensive back Kareem Jackson at $33 million with $23 million guaranteed over 3 years, the Broncos can expect an expensive price tag for Harris.
Fast forward to mid March, when Broncos General Manager John Elway introduced Joe Flacco as the new quarterback of the team. Inevitably, the question about the all pro cornerbacks contract status popped up.
“We’ll talk about that later once we get through everything,” Elway said. “Once we get through the draft, we’ll see where we are, we’ll see where we are budget-wise. Obviously Chris has been a good football player for us for a long time. We’ll have to see where that goes. It’s something that we’d like to look at.”
Now at the end of March it appears that contract negotiations remain stagnant. Harris is set to earn a base salary of $7.8 million in 2019 before he will be an unrestricted free agent in 2020. If the defense is to drastically improve under Vic Fangio, Chris Harris Jr. must be paid and extended immediately.