Shelby Harris

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/31/20

Here are the minor moves from 2020’s final day:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

  • Placed on reserve/COVID-19 list: C Alex Mack

Baltimore Ravens

Cincinnati Bengals

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots

Philadelphia Eagles

Shelby Harris Wants To Stay With Broncos

One of the Broncos’ better acquisitions in recent years, Shelby Harris is winding down his fourth season with the team. The veteran defensive tackle would prefer to extend this run.

Harris unexpectedly re-signed with the Broncos on a one-year deal this offseason, doing so after a market did not form for the talented interior defender. While the former seventh-round pick will again seek the first notable payday of his career, he would prefer that offer came from the Broncos.

Obviously it would mean the world,” Harris said of another (presumably more lucrative) deal to stay with the Broncos, via the team’s website. “My family loves Denver; I love Denver, and Denver’s done nothing but do right by me since I’ve been here. I love it here, but at the end of the day I understand it’s a business and so you got to be ready for everything. … I’ve had two of my kids here; this is home for them. So obviously Denver is a special place for me.”

The Broncos brought back Harris on a one-year, $3.25MM contract. Despite missing four games due to a positive COVID-19 test, the 29-year-old defender has notched a career-high 11 quarterback hits this season. One of the NFL’s top bat-down artists, Harris has added seven pass deflections to give him 16 over the past two seasons.

While the Broncos hoped to have Harris and Jurrell Casey team up on this year’s defensive line, the latter suffered a season-ending injury in September. The Broncos are projected to have nearly $20MM in 2021 cap space and can create $11MM in additional funds by releasing the longtime Titans standout. Of course, the Broncos’ 2021 payroll does not yet include a Justin Simmons deal. Considering Harris’ 2020 market, he would appear to command a midlevel deal in a year when the cap is expected to decline. Losing both Harris and Casey would make the defensive front an obvious need area for the Broncos.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/2/20

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here:

Buffalo Bills

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Shelby Harris Tests Positive For COVID-19

Shelby Harris missed the Broncos’ Week 9 game after he landed on the team’s reserve/COVID-19 list. But the veteran defensive lineman was out due to being a high-risk close contact. This week, he will be out because he tested positive for the coronavirus, Benjamin Allbright of KOA tweets.

The Broncos placed Harris on their reserve/COVID-19 list last week. He reported to the team his wife and children tested positive for the coronavirus last week, Mike Klis of 9News reports, but he did not receive word he had also tested positive until Wednesday morning. The Broncos quarantined Harris away from his family at a hotel last week; he did not travel to Atlanta for the team’s Week 9 game. He will miss at least Denver’s Week 10 game in Las Vegas.

Broncos defensive line coach Bill Kollar is not with the team due to contact tracing, per Klis, but the longtime Denver assistant has not tested positive (Twitter link). The Broncos have seen a few assistants miss time because of the virus, with running backs coach Curtis Modkins testing positive and O-line coach Mike Munchak and defensive coordinator Ed Donatell being sidelined for periods as well. GM John Elway tested positive last week.

After catching on with the Broncos in 2017, Harris re-signed with the team this offseason. The interior defender led the NFL in passes batted down last season and has eight QB hits this year. With Harris sidelined, the Broncos will be without each of their three starting D-linemen against the Raiders. Both Jurrell Casey and Mike Purcell are on IR.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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.