Shelby Harris

Extra Points: Broncos, Ravens, Madden

It was a disappointing offseason for defensive lineman Shelby Harris, who ended up re-signing with the Broncos on a one-year deal worth $3.25MM. Harris is coming off a career-year where he started all 16 games and had a career-high six sacks and nine passes defended, so he was expecting a big payday in free agency. His market wasn’t what he anticipated, so he ended up back in Denver on a prove-it deal. Harris himself even used that language when explaining his thought process in a recent interview with Mike Klis of Denver 9 News (Twitter link).

Well, after the numbers weren’t what we wanted, I felt like let’s do another 1-yr/ prove it to prove I can do it again and be able to hit the market again next year or re-up with the Broncos. Just another chance to go prove myself,” Harris explained. The 28-year-old had previously expressed that due to his age, he felt like this was his one shot at a big contract. Harris came out of nowhere, and has been a nice success story. A seventh-round pick of the Raiders out of Illinois State in 2014, he appeared in only eight games his first two years and spent 2016 out of the league. He suddenly emerged as a part-time starter with Denver in 2017, and has been a key player for them ever since.

Here’s more from around the league on a quiet Sunday night:

  • After the Ravens’ deal for Michael Brockers fell through due to concerns over his ankle, they immediately started looking for defensive line help elsewhere. They ended up signing former Broncos defensive end Derek Wolfe, and they were apparently interested in Ndamukong Suh before he re-signed with the Bucs. Now we’ve got word of one more defensive lineman they discussed, as Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports tweets they were also talking with Mike Daniels. This is the first we’ve heard of interest in Daniels this offseason, and it’s not that surprising that the 2017 Pro Bowler’s market has been quiet given that his past two campaigns have been cut short due to injury. After getting released by the Packers last summer the Iowa product signed a one-year, $9.1MM deal with the Lions, but he ended up appearing in only nine games with two starts before landing on injured reserve. Now on the wrong side of 30, he probably won’t get too much guaranteed money wherever he ends up.
  • With the new CBA approved, every NFL player is getting one under the radar bonus. Players will now be sent their last couple of ‘Madden checks,’ which had been held back in a fund for a potential work stoppage, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network tweets. Active players will get $17.6K for 2017 and $16.9K for 2018 for their participation in the popular video game, Pelissero reports, with $1K for practice squad players. The payments for the 2019 season will be sent out this fall, he notes.

Agent Notes: Suh, Thomas, Harris

Here are some updates on a number of players’ representation, all reported by Liz Mullen.

  • Ndamukong Suh chose not to sign with an agent prior to his most recent free-agency and instead represented himself when he agreed to a one-year, $8MM deal to stay with the Buccaneers (Twitter link).
  • Draft prospect Jeff Thomas, a wide receiver out of Miami, has decided to change his representation as we approach the home stretch to the draft. Instead of going forward with First Round Management LLC, he will be represented by Drew Rosenhaus and Robert Bailey at Rosenhaus Sports (Twitter link).
  • Broncos defensive lineman Shelby Harris re-signed with the team on a one-year deal worth up to $3.25MM. However, that did not come before a recent game of musical chairs representing Harris. Ryan Williams of A1 NFL negotiated his re-up in Denver, but he had switched from the National Sports Agency to Rosenhaus Sports in January (Twitter link).

Broncos Re-Sign DL Shelby Harris

Shelby Harris is returning to Denver. Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic reports (via Twitter) that the Broncos have re-signed the veteran defensive lineman.

Per Jhabvala, it’s a one-year deal worth a max value of $3.25MM, including $2.5MM in guarantees. Mike Klis of 9News in Denver tweets that Harris has $750K in per-game roster bonuses (a bit less than $47K per game).

After bouncing around the NFL for a bit, the former seventh-round pick has found a home in Denver. He’s appeared in every regular season game for the Broncos since 2017, and that includes a 2019 campaign where he started a career-high 16 games. In fact, the 28-year-old set career-highs across the board, including 49 tackles, six sacks, nine passes defended, and one forced fumble.

Despite the career season, Shelby found himself dealing with an underwhelming market, and Klis tweets that the veteran actually switched agents for the second time recently. A return to Denver seemed somewhat inevitable, especially after Shelby expressed interest in sticking with the organization.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Broncos Notes: Harrises, Wolfe, OL, RBs

The Broncos both traded for A.J. Bouye (and a $13MM salary) and used their franchise tag on Justin Simmons, signaling Chris Harris‘ time in Denver was almost certainly up. The four-time Pro Bowler said during an NFL Network appearance the door is “pretty much” closed on a 10th Broncos season (Twitter link via The Athletic’s Nicki Jhabvala). The decorated cornerback is expected to have at least 10 teams pursuing him, Troy Renck of Denver7 tweets. The Browns, Cardinals, Chargers, Chiefs, Cowboys, Jets, Lions, Raiders, Seahawks and Texans are expected to have “strong” interest in signing the 30-year-old defender, Renck adds. This list interestingly omits the Eagles, who have been linked to Harris at multiple junctures over the past five months.

Although Harris is arguably the best slot cornerback in NFL history, his consistent usage as a boundary player as well will likely push his market near the current corner standard of $15MM per year. He turned down the Broncos’ three-year, $36MM proposal before the trade deadline.

Here is the latest out of Denver:

  • Denver’s Week 1 starting defensive line consisted of Derek Wolfe, Shelby Harris and Adam Gotsis. All three are poised to hit the market, with Gotsis doing so after being benched early in the season. Shelby Harris would prefer to stay in Denver but has acknowledged, at 28, this is his lone chance at a big payday. The Colts are among the teams interested in the late-blooming D-lineman, Renck notes.
  • On the Wolfe subject, the eight-year veteran has been the most vocal about returning to Denver. His agent’s Combine meeting with the Broncos led him to believe he will hit the market. “[The Broncos] talked to my agent at the Combine. … It looks like they’re going to let me hit free agency, see what the market is,” Wolfe said during an interview with KOA Radio (via DNVR Sports’ Andrew Mason, on Twitter). “… It’s a nice way of saying, ‘We like you; we love you, but not for that kind of money.” The Broncos may bring back Wolfe or Shelby Harris, but not both. The team drafted Dre’Mont Jones in Round 3 last year, so it may be covered at one of its defensive end spots. Wolfe, 29, said during an interview with Sirius XM Radio (audio link) he is eyeing two to four more seasons.
  • The Broncos’ interest in a running back stems not necessarily from their current regime’s desire to replace Phillip Lindsay but to complement him, per Renck, who adds the team is expected to add a bigger back in either free agency or the draft. Royce Freeman has underwhelmed in that role over the past two seasons.
  • The Broncos plan to pursue a guard on the market, Renck notes (on Twitter). They declined Ronald Leary‘s 2020 option, so a replacement will be needed. They also may try to add a swing tackle and are likely to draft a tackle, which makes sense given left tackle Garett Bolles‘ struggles.
  • Elijah Wilkinson was supposed to work as a Broncos swing man in 2019, but Ja’Wuan James‘ near-season-long absence thrust Wilkinson into Denver’s right tackle spot. He spent time as a first-string guard in 2018 and stands to factor into the Broncos’ 2020 plans at one of those two positions. The team is expected to use a priority tender on Wilkinson, per Renck. This will likely mean a second-round tender. That will cost more than $3MM.

Extra Points: Broncos, XFL, Vikings, Hawks

Derek Wolfe has made it clear for months he would like to return to the Broncos, but the eight-year veteran does not want to take a pay cut to do so, Mike Klis of 9News notes. Both Wolfe and Shelby Harris are free agents, and Klis adds the Broncos will not bring back both players. It will be an either/or setup, or the Broncos will let both walk and essentially remake their defensive line. Both were starters over the past three seasons. Wolfe has been a Denver starter since his 2012 rookie slate and joins Chris Harris in being first-stringers from the team’s Super Bowl champion defense set to hit the market. Shelby Harris, 28, joined the Broncos in 2017, after being out of football in 2016, and will be in demand on the market. The Broncos met with Wolfe’s agent at the Combine.

Denver extended Wolfe, now 29, on a four-year, $36.75MM deal in January 2016. With John Elway indicating defensive line doubles as this free agent class’ deepest position, it is certainly possible the team moves on from Wolfe rather than give him a third contract — north of that $9MM-per-year rate — as he enters his 30s.

Here is the latest from around the league:

  • Vikings tight end David Morgan missed all of last season because of a knee injury, and Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press notes his contract will toll to 2020. Morgan’s contract was set to expire after the 2019 season, making him a first-time free agent this year. But after spending last season on Minnesota’s PUP list, Morgan will again be tethered to the Vikings this year. The rate will depend on the CBA. If the players reject the owners’ proposal, Morgan will make $735K again. If the CBA is ratified this week, Morgan’s salary would spike to $825K. A sixth-round pick in 2016, Morgan has 16 receptions for 135 yards and a touchdown in his three seasons with the Vikings.
  • One of the XFL’s top players has drawn interest from the Seahawks. Seattle scouts were on hand at Saturday’s Seattle Dragons-Houston Roughnecks game, with Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk noting they were looking into Roughnecks quarterback Phillip Walker. The former NFL practice squad passer has Houston as the XFL’s lone unbeaten, at 5-0. His last NFL connection came in a Buccaneers workout in September 2019. Walker, 24, bounced on and off the Colts’ practice squad in 2018. The Seahawks used Geno Smith as Russell Wilson‘s backup last year; he is now a free agent. XFLers cannot sign NFL deals until the XFL season ends in April.
  • Speaking of the XFL, their kickoff setup has drawn some notable praise. Packers president Mark Murphy is a fan of the league’s kickoffs and its post-touchdown format, Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com tweets. The XFL placing 10 members of the kickoff and kick-return teams five yards across from each other naturally stands to reduce high-speed collisions the NFL has sought to minimize for years. The XFL replaced extra-point kicks with one-, two- or three-point conversions — from the 2-, 5- and 10-yard lines — in its second go-round.

Shelby Harris Wants To Stay With Broncos

On the cusp of free agency, Broncos defensive lineman Shelby Harris says he would like to stay put (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). However, he still sounds intent on exploring his options. 

We LOVE Denver,” Harris said. “But I’m 28. We got one shot at this. This is for my kids, and my kids’ kids.” 

Harris might not be a household name, but GMs around the league are well aware of what he brings to the table. Harris, 29 in August, is coming off of a perfectly-timed career year – he notched 49 tackles and six sacks in 16 games (all starts) and showed that he’s worthy of a top-flight deal.

The former seventh-round pick of the Raiders has been an advanced metrics darling since joining the Broncos in 2017. In 2018, the nose tackle graded out as one of the most effective defensive tackles in the game on a per-play basis as he came off of the bench. After finishing out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 9 interior defender, the Broncos re-upped him on the second-round tender for 2019, worth $3.095MM. He continued to deliver in a larger sample – this year, he finished as the No. 17 ranked interior defender in the NFL, per PFF.

Harris is looking better than ever, but the Broncos won’t be able to keep him on a below-market deal this time around. Meanwhile, Harris knows that this is his best opportunity to score security and multi-generational wealth. The Broncos have upwards of $60MM to work with this offseason and they’ll have to dedicate a decent chunk of that to Harris, if they hope to keep him for 2020 and beyond.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Broncos Notes: Shula, Bolles, Harris

Mike Shula met with Broncos head coach Vic Fangio about the team’s QB coach vacancy, reports Troy Renck of Denver7 (via Twitter). While the two sides didn’t agree to deal, the meeting went well and Shula is considered the favorite for the gig.

Shula was the Giants’ OC for the last two years under Pat Shurmur, and he interviewed to keep his gig on Joe Judge’s new staff. Shula helped in the development of quarterback Daniel Jones, who showed promise at times in 2019. On the other hand, the Giants offense struggled as a whole during Shula’s tenure, as the club went 9-23 over the last two seasons.

Former Broncos QBs coach Rich Scangarello was fired on January 10. The Broncos are looking to reinvent their offense under new offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur.

Let’s check out some more news out of Denver…

  • Nose tackle Shelby Harris has hired Drew Rosenhaus for representation, the agent announced on Twitter. Following a career year, the 28-year-old is set to hit free agency this offseason. Harris set career-highs across the board this season, finishing with 49 tackles and six sacks in 16 games (16 starts). The former seventh-rounder was slapped with a second-round restricted free agent tender last offseason.
  • The Broncos are going to be busy this offseason, but it sounds like the organization will be patient when it comes to left tackle Garett Bolles. General manager John Elway said the team will take its time as they determine whether they should pick up the former first-rounder’s fifth-year option. “We’ll wait,” Elway said (via the Denver Post’s Ryan O’Halloran on Twitter). “There’s no sense doing it early. We’re not going to do it until May. We’ll see when we get there where we are.” As Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk.com points out, Bolles has been flagged 32 times for holding throughout his career, but the organization has also been fond of his durability.
  • We learned yesterday that the Broncos had moved on from “salary cap guru/contract negotiator” Mike Sullivan.

Extension Candidate: Shelby Harris

The Broncos have established some continuity on their defensive line over the past two seasons. Super Bowl-era holdover Derek Wolfe has anchored the unit for years, and Adam Gotsis enters his fourth season. Both Shelby Harris and Zach Kerr are back for third Denver slates. With the exception of Kerr, each enters a contract year.

Although Wolfe is this group’s biggest name, Harris presents the most interesting extension candidacy. The Broncos’ projected starting nose tackle has gone from Raiders afterthought to being out of football in 2016 to ending 2018 as one of the most effective defensive tackles in the game (on a per-play basis). Pro Football Focus graded Harris as its No. 9 interior defender last season, and the Broncos responded by applying a second-round tender ($3.095MM).

Set for his age-28 season, Harris is set to become a primary first-stringer for the first time in his career. The Broncos did not re-sign two-year nose starter Domata Peko. Harris registered 5.5 sacks in 2017 as well and will be in position to approach that total as a starter. His breakthrough 2018, which included a game-winning interception of Ben Roethlisberger, did come on only 391 snaps in 16 games. That total was the lowest of Denver’s five-man defensive line rotation last season, and the team may want to see how Harris performs with a bigger workload before making a long-term commitment. Another quality campaign will make Harris an intriguing commodity on the 2020 market, should he reach free agency.

The former 2014 seventh-round pick has expressed a desire for a Broncos extension, and it seems likely the team opts to retain at least one of its starting linemen beyond 2019. Only Kerr, defensive end Dre’Mont Jones and roster-bubble cog DeMarcus Walker are signed beyond this season, among the team’s notable D-linemen.

It might not cost the Broncos too much to retain Harris, with only one 3-4 defensive tackle (Chicago’s Eddie Goldman) making more than $5MM annually. However, 4-3 noses like Damon Harrison, Dontari Poe and Star Lotulelei earn between $9-$10MM annually, creating a more defined price range. While Harris sees time at defensive end as well, his primary role is inside. Of course, the one team that did recently see value in paying a 3-4 nose employed Vic Fangio as its defensive coordinator.

The new Broncos HC may hold this role in higher regard than many teams, and the franchise’s post-2019 defense does not have much in the way of front-seven salary obligations. Von Miller, whose cap number spikes to $25.6MM next year thanks to a past restructure, is the only front-seven player on the Broncos’ 2020 cap sheet at north of $7.5MM.

Playing in Fangio’s system, Harris could work his way toward Goldman’s $10.5MM-AAV number. Although the Broncos have been stingy at this position in the recent past, letting Terrance Knighton walk after his $2MM-per-year deal expired and declining Sylvester Williams‘ 2017 option, they will have some decisions to make about how they distribute their D-line money soon. These circumstances put Harris in a favorable spot entering his walk year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Broncos DL Shelby Harris Signs RFA Tender

Broncos restricted free agent defensive lineman Shelby Harris has signed his second-round tender, the team announced. Harris will now collect $3.095MM for the 2019 campaign before becoming eligible for unrestricted free agency next year.

A seventh-round pick of the Raiders in 2014, Harris bounced around the league, spending time with the Jets and Cowboys before signing a futures deal with the Broncos in 2017. That low-risk move has paid off in a big way for Denver, as Harris has appeared in all 32 possible games over the past two years, seeing action on more than 35% of the Broncos’ defensive snaps in each season. He could see a further increase in playing time this year, as the club is expected to make him its starting nose tackle.

Harris, 27, posted seven sacks, 16 quarterback hits, and 15 tackles for loss from 2017-18, and he graded as the NFL’s No. 8 interior defender last year, per Pro Football Focus.

The Broncos also announced that the following exclusive rights free agents have signed their ERFA tenders:

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: White, Jets, Broncos, Ravens

One of the top defenders available in a defense-heavy prospect pool, Devin White has begun to set up pre-draft visits. The Giants, Bengals and Buccaneers will host the LSU-developed linebacker, Amie Just of NOLA.com notes. All three teams pick in the top 11, and White has been often mocked to be off the board in between the Bucs’ No. 5 pick and the Bengals’ No. 11 choice. Although the Giants could use a young inside linebacker alongside Alec Ogletree, they have been linked to pass rushers at No. 6 — if they don’t, in fact, select their next quarterback then. The Bengals have a need on their defensive second level, which now lacks Vontaze Burfict. Tampa Bay lost Kwon Alexander but still has Lavonte David. Kendell Beckwith, White’s college teammate, missed all of last season.

Here is the latest from around the league:

  • Peyton Manning has advocated for Adam Gase on a few occasions, and he did so again to help steer Trevor Siemian to Gase’s current team. Siemian signed with the Jets this week. Siemian said (via Ethan Greenberg of NewYorkJets.com) his decision came down to, like Anthony Barr‘s, New York or Minnesota. After exchanging texts with Manning, the new Jets backup indicated his former teammate’s belief in Gase remains. This and other factors helped the fifth-year quarterback choose the Jets. Manning played three seasons under Gase, setting multiple high-profile records in 2013. Siemian did not arrive in Denver until the Gary Kubiak regime, however. The Vikings were interested in bringing back Siemian and have yet to sign a replacement QB2, though that is the goal.
  • The Broncos are not planning to bring back Domata Peko, their nose tackle of two seasons. Although Shelby Harris has not yet signed his second-round RFA tender, the Broncos plan to make the emerging interior lineman their starting nose, Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post notes. Harris graded as, by far, Denver’s best defensive lineman last season, per Pro Football Focus, but played the fewest snaps (391) of anyone in the team’s five-man rotation. Four of those players (Harris, Derek Wolfe, Adam Gotsis and the recently re-signed Zach Kerr) remain, but it looks like Harris — PFF’s No. 9 overall inside defender — will see more time in 2019.
  • Viewed as a possible first-round pick, N.C. State alum Garrett Bradbury may be benefiting from what is a weak center class. The interior blocker might not be a lock for Round 1, with Matt Miller of Bleacher Report having spoken with just one scout that views him as a first-round talent. Bradbury, a three-year starter for the Wolfpack, grades as the NFL.com draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah’s No. 22 overall prospect.
  • The Ravens do not have openings at kicker or punter, but the team has versatile specialist Kaare Vedvik on its roster for potential trade purposes. “I fully expect that he’ll kick well enough for us to trade him. That’s kind of, I would say, the goal,” John Harbaugh said this week (via Clifton Brown of BaltimoreRavens.com). Teams were interested in acquiring Vedvik during the 2018 preseason, when he made 8 of 9 field goal tries — including a 56-yarder — but the Norwegian kicker/punter who kicked at Marshall in college suffered injuries from an assault on Sept. 1 of last year. He spent the season on the Ravens’ NFI list.