Chris Harris suffered a fractured fibula in early December but returned to play in Sunday’s Pro Bowl. He is open to parlaying that momentum into another Broncos contract.
Denver formed probably the NFL’s best cornerback trio from 2014-17, but the trade of Aqib Talib and Bradley Roby‘s likely free agency departure leave Harris the last remaining member of that group. The All-Pro slot defender has one season left on his contract and would be ready to discuss another Denver extension.
“Definitely open to an extension, whenever they call me,” Harris said, via Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post. “I’m 29 right now. But I have a lot of juice left. I’m not close to being done. I feel like I’m getting better.”
Although Harris has been attached to a team-friendly, five-year pact worth $42.5MM since the end of the 2014 season, he has been one of this decade’s premier cornerbacks. Pro Football Focus again graded him as a top-five corner this season. Following the injuries to Harris and Emmanuel Sanders in a three-day span, the Broncos finished 0-4 after mounting a midseason win streak.
With Harris taking a discount for his second contract, it would stand to reason he would want to be paid like a top-tier corner on his next deal. It will likely cost the Broncos eight figures annually to keep their longest-tenured defensive back long-term. Elway traded a 31-year-old Talib this past offseason but has not been averse to retaining older talent at this position. One of his first acts as GM was signing Champ Bailey to a second Broncos extension.
Having given Harris an incentive package in 2018 and not yet identifying surefire future starters, it would stand to reason the Broncos would be open to a Harris re-up. The Broncos may well lose their Nos. 2-3 corners this offseason, with Tramaine Brock‘s one-year deal having expired. Denver drafted Brendan Langley and Isaac Yiadom in the past two third rounds, but neither’s starter potential is certain. Langley was bumped back to the practice squad for much of this season; Yiadom played 263 snaps as a rookie.
Cornerback resides as one of the Broncos’ top needs. A boundary defender in base defenses but largely a slot cover man, Harris would prefer whomever the Broncos bring in have inside-defending capabilities. Though, his acumen in that area may make that unrealistic.
“Oh, yeah, if we can find somebody who can play in the slot and I can just match the No. 1 guy, I would love that,” Harris said. “That would be ideal for me. But we have to find that guy. It’s hard. We’ll see happen with Roby’s situation or see if we can find some other guys.”
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.