CB Harris: Situation with Broncos ‘can be salvaged’

Field Level Media

April 25, 2019 at 3:41 am.

Denver Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. told multiple outlets Wednesday he is open to remaining with the team he signed with as an undrafted rookie in 2011, a day after taking a pay-me-or-trade-me stance.

“I want to be here, so we can salvage it,” Harris told 9News Denver. In a separate interview with The Athletic, he added, “I’ve been patient. I’m still open to coming back. I’m never closing that door until they close it.”

Multiple reports emerged late Tuesday night that Harris’ agent told the Broncos his client would like a new contract or to be traded. According to 9News Denver, Harris is seeking an annual salary of at least $15 million, which would equal the NFL’s highest-paid cornerback, Josh Norman.

The reports came hours after Broncos general manager John Elway told reporters the team would discuss a new contract for Harris after the draft.

“I said we’re going to talk about it,” Elway added. “It doesn’t mean we’re going to do it.”

Harris, who turns 30 in June, is entering the final year of his contract, with $7.9 million in base salary and workout bonuses available to him. A four-time Pro Bowler and one-time first-team All-Pro, he has been a bargain for the Broncos on a five-year, $42.5 million contract signed in December of 2014.

Harris told The Athletic he doesn’t regret taking what he viewed as a discount on that contract — the team won Super Bowl 50 the following year — but he is now seeking better compensation.

Multiple outlets report a team reached out about Harris’ availability earlier this week, before Harris’ request. According to 9News Denver, the Broncos are listening to trade offers for the cornerback but “won’t give him away.”

Asked by The Athletic if he would be willing to sit out in 2019 if he doesn’t get traded or receive a new contract, Harris said, “It shouldn’t get to that point.”

The eight-year veteran had three interceptions and 10 pass breakups in 12 games last season before breaking his leg, a minor break that did not keep him from playing in the Pro Bowl less than two months later. Prior to the injury, he had missed just one game in his career.

Harris is the last member of the secondary that led Denver to its Super Bowl title three years ago after safety Darian Stewart was released and Bradley Roby left in free agency. The Broncos brought in two defensive backs — Kareem Jackson and Bryce Callahan — on big deals in free agency in March.

Harris is also, along with Von Miller, Denver’s longest tenured player.

Adding a bit to the drama Wednesday was the Broncos’ Twitter account posting a promotional photo that included images of numerous players but not Harris. In response, Harris tweeted, “this real cold.”

The Broncos subsequently revised the picture, adding a reply to Harris, “Hope this thaws things out. Our bad, we got you.”