Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr., who has not reported to minicamp, has formally requested a new contract or trade, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (via Twitter). Mike Klis of 9News.com classifies this report as an “ominous turn,” and he adds that Harris is seeking a contract that will pay him at least $15MM per year (Twitter link).
Reports last week indicated that Harris would not be attending this week’s minicamp, which was not much of a surprise given that Harris also skipped voluntary workouts earlier in the month. It has been clear for some time that Harris, who is entering the final year of his current contract, is pushing for a new deal.
Denver is open to giving him one, but the $15MM/year figure would make Harris the highest-paid CB in the league on an AAV basis (the Redskins’ Josh Norman is also earning $15MM per year). But he does have leverage, as he has become one of the best corners in the league and is the heart and soul of the Broncos’ secondary.
Perhaps he is hoping that he can pressure the Broncos into giving into his demands so that they do not feel obligated to select a CB during this week’s draft, but if that was his plan, he should have made the request more than two days prior to the draft. Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post tweets that it was a misplay for Harris’ camp to make the request at this point, and Klis says in a separate tweet that a trade may be the best option for Harris and Denver.
After all, as good as Harris is, Klis says Broncos GM John Elway is highly unlikely to hand him a $15MM/year deal. Harris is nearly 30 and is coming off a fractured fibula, though considering the value of quality corners in today’s league, it would not be altogether surprising to see some team swinging a trade and at least coming close to meeting Harris’ demands.
Suddenly, the Harris situation has become one to pay close attention to, though Elway has made it clear that he is not going to address Harris’ contract until after the draft is over (Twitter link via Troy Renck of Denver7). He also indicated that a new contract might not get done, which is notable since most GMs in this situation will at least offer lip service suggesting that they expect the player in question to be with the team for the long haul.
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