Shelby Harris

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.

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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:

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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.

Broncos Place Second-Round Tender On DL Shelby Harris

The Broncos have placed a second-round tender on restricted free agent defensive lineman Shelby Harris, according to Mike Klis of 9News.

Harris will now collect $3.095MM for the 2019 campaign. Theoretically, another team could sign Harris to an offer sheet, but they’d have to be willing to sacrifice a second-round pick. Additionally, Denver has the right to match any offer Harris may receive, so the tender almost certainly ties Harris to the Broncos’ roster for next season.

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 ten-fold 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.

Harris, 27, posted seven sacks, 16 quarterback hits, and 15 tackles for loss from 2017-18, and graded as the NFL’s No. 8 interior defender last year, per Pro Football Focus. His role could be set to expand in 2019, as the Broncos reportedly aren’t interested in re-signing veteran defensive tackle Domata Peko, who played 522 defensive snaps last season.

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Minor NFL Transactions: 4/16/2018

Here are today’s minor moves:

Denver Broncos

  • Re-signed: LB Zaire Anderson
  • Re-signed: DE Shelby Harris
  • Re-signed: LB Joseph Jones
  • Re-signed: WR Jordan Taylor
  • Re-signed: OT Elijah Wilkinson

Houston Texans

  • Signed original round RFA tender: OL Greg Mancz

Los Angeles Rams

  • Signed original round RFA tender: LB Matt Longacre

Washington Redskins

  • Re-signed: OT Tony Bergstrom

Minor NFL Transactions: 3/9/18

Here are today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Carolina Panthers

Denver Broncos

Los Angeles Rams

 

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 1/25/17

Here are the latest reserve/futures contract signings from around the NFL. These deals will go into effect on the first day of the 2017 league year, with players joining their respective club’s offseason 90-man rosters:

Denver Broncos

New Orleans Saints

  • LS Jesse Schmitt (two-year deal)

New York Giants

Pittsburgh Steelers

Minor NFL Transactions: 1/10/17

Today’s minor moves:

Reserve/Futures Contracts

Miami Dolphins

San Diego Chargers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Practice Squad

Dallas Cowboys

NFL Workout Updates: 12/20/16

Tuesday is typically a busy workout day for NFL teams, and the level of activity only increases near the end of the season, when clubs are looking at players who might be candidates for reserve/futures contracts. Here are today’s tryout notes:

  • The Buccaneers worked out quarterback Sean Renfree, defensive end Alex Bazzie, linebacker Deon Lacey, and Spanish rugby star Inaki Villanueva (as a tight end), reports Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Renfree, 26, spent last season as Matt Ryan‘s backup in Atlanta, and has auditioned for a number of clubs this year without being offered a deal.
  • The Lions worked out a pair of free agent tight ends — David Ausberry and Gabe Hughes — at the end of last week, tweets Justin Rogers of the Detroit News. PFR reported earlier this year that Ausberry tore his Achilles during a November 2015 tryout with New York, and has presumably been rehabbing ever since.
  • Former Chicago linebacker Khaseem Greene tried out for the Chiefs, per Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star (Twitter link). Greene started six games for the Bears from 2012-14, and has spent time on a few other NFL rosters, but hasn’t appeared in the NFL in two years.
  • The Jets met with quarterback Mike Bercovici; tight ends M.J. McFarland, Gannon Sinclair, and Jason Vander Laan; and wide receiver Dez Stewart, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Bercovici, a 2016 favorite of some NFL draftniks, went to camp with San Diego but didn’t make the final cut.
  • The Titans worked out former Oakland/New York defensive end Shelby Harris today, tweets Caplan. Harris, 25, played in eight games over the past two seasons with the Raiders.
  • The Texans met with cornerback Mitchell White, who has spent the past three years in the Canadian Football League, according to Caplan (Twitter link).
  • The Patriots auditioned defensive tackle Jeoffrey Pagan, reports Doug Kyed of NESN (Twitter link).

Lions Work Out Dallas Thomas, Two Others

With defensive tackle Haloti Ngata being questionable for this weekend’s game, the Lions are eyeing some defensive lineman. According to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter), the team has auditioned defensive end Shelby Harris and defensive tackle Lawrence Virgil. The Lions also worked out offensive guard Dallas Thomas.

Dallas ThomasHarris, 25, was a seventh-round pick back in 2014. In two seasons with the Raiders, the Illinois State product played in eight games, compiling 14 tackles and one sack. Harris spent time with the Jets this offseason, but he was ultimately cut in late August. Virgil, meanwhile, has one NFL game on his resume. The 25-year-old was released by the Saints in early August after having spent two years with the organization.

Despite not necessarily fitting a need, Thomas is the most notable name among the auditionees. The former third-round pick had spent his entire career with the Dolphins, making 37 appearances in three-plus seasons. The 26-year-old was actually a consistent presence on the Dolphins line in 2015, starting all 16 games. An underwhelming performance in early October led to his release from the team.

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