Kansas City Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu got big bucks in free agency and took to Twitter to campaign for Chris Harris Jr. to get paid as well.
Although Chris Harris Jr.’s pay has never really reflected it, he’s regarded as one of the best defensive backs in football and his peers in the league are finally getting vocal in support with Harris sitting out voluntary portions of Broncos OTAs.
Among those pining for Harris to get a new deal is new Kansas City Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu, who signed in March to become one of the highest paid players in the NFL at the safety position.
Mathieu took a one-year ‘prove-it’ deal in 2018 with the Houston Texans, thrived, then got paid. The Denver Broncos don’t want to see Harris go to another team by any means, but have also tabled contract talks until after the 2019 NFL Draft.
Mathieu decided now would be a good time to shed some light on how underpaid Harris is.
Everyone in Denver knows how dominant Harris Jr. has been since he came into the league. As one of John Elway’s first undrafted free agent gems, Harris has become sort of the modern day Rod Smith with the Broncos. Shoutout to Matty Mulls, a fellow Predominantly Orange writer, for pointing that out to me.
Considering Harris has been a model for pretty much everything the Broncos want to represent on and off the field, it seems impossible to me that he won’t eventually get a new contract. Missing some voluntary OTAs will be a distant memory in due time.
The question right now is more a matter of how the Broncos get Harris his money. They don’t have a ton of flexibility on this year’s cap but they have cap space (and plenty of it) in the years ahead. Harris is a player worth investing in as his play has never dropped off and he’s made it back from an ACL injury and broken leg injury only to look even better than he did before.
If a deal doesn’t get done with Harris, we’ll have to collectively wonder what’s going on behind the scenes. The Broncos gave $11 million per season to Kareem Jackson, and Harris is worth at least $12 million per season with that in mind.
That’s still reasonable for his level of play, and the Broncos are excited to get him back out onto the field. Vic Fangio didn’t seem fazed by Harris’ absence, citing this type of thing happens around the league every year. Ed Donatell talked about Harris’ absence and said he’s looking forward to having him out on the field.
If the Broncos do, indeed open contract talks after the NFL Draft, it will be interesting to see how far apart the two sides are. There were reports of an encouraging meeting between Harris’ reps and the Broncos at the 2019 Scouting Combine in February, perhaps just indicating they want a new deal and the Broncos agreed to negotiate before the season.
Hopefully, this is resolved soon.