Denver Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. wants a new contract or trade and made his financial demands known. What teams could try to trade for him?
The Denver Broncos have made it known they are not negotiating a new deal with cornerback Chris Harris Jr. until after the 2019 NFL Draft, which is less than two days away at this point in time.
Harris gave the Broncos an ultimatum at some point on Tuesday after John Elway made some interesting comments at his pre-draft press conference.
Elway stated the Broncos were waiting to talk with Harris’ reps until after the Draft — which he has previously stated a number of times — but then made a deliberate effort to state that those discussions did not mean anything was going to happen.
That likely raised red flags from Harris’ camp.
He probably thought, “Wait, what? That doesn’t mean anything is going to happen?”
Harris is seeking a large payday.
That $15 million APY would make Harris the highest paid cornerback in the NFL. He’s certainly played like it in his time with the Broncos, which could now be coming to an end.
Despite playing on a contract well-below market value the past few seasons, Harris has been one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL and has had to do a lot of self-promotion to get any sort of national recognition.
It’s a shame that Harris hasn’t been as highly regarded as other players at his position through the years, but he’s respected inside the league and is one of the best all-around corners — slot or outside — in the game.
But he’s also in his age 30 season, coming off of a broken leg (though he returned in time for the Pro Bowl), and is under contract for another year. Demanding a trade before the NFL Draft is really the only card he is holding.
The Broncos hold the rest. Would Harris really hold out and sit out this entire season, turning down $8 million in the process? That would mean he would hit the market at the age of 31 having missed an entire season of ball.
And even if he still got paid then, the Broncos could recoup a third-round compensatory pick in 2021, which I’m sure they would love to do if that’s their worst case scenario here.
At this point in time, what seemed like a ridiculous option now seems like an inevitability. If Harris gets traded, what teams would be lining up for his services, and what do they have to offer?
Any team trading for Harris would need to be prepared to make him the highest paid corner in football and pay him for at least three seasons.
Trade capital: 26th, 34th, 59th, 89th, 129th, 135th picks (top four rounds)
The Indianapolis Colts didn’t make a ton of huge splash moves in free agency, but they certainly had the cap space. They had over $100 million in cap space but didn’t use a ton of it. They re-signed Pierre Desir at corner, and they lack star power at that position in general.
Harris would be a huge upgrade for them. How much would they pay? Over the next four years, Harris is better than any corner they would be able to get in this draft.
Trade capital: Top pick in every round, CB Patrick Peterson, QB Josh Rosen
Vance Joseph is the new defensive coordinator for the Cardinals, who need help all over their roster. Not that Harris would covet the opportunity to play for Joseph again (I don’t know that he wouldn’t, either) but there’s familiarity here with the defense the Cardinals are going to run and they may have some disgruntled players of their own soon enough.
Could you package something together with Harris and Peterson involved? Harris and Rosen? There are some intriguing options here.
Trade capital: 9th, 40th, 74th, 112th, 131st picks
The Buffalo Bills have a rookie quarterback under contract, money to spend, and a defense that could suit Harris perfectly.
The Bills actually have a very good defensive backfield already, but Harris could be the missing piece to make this a dominant unit. The Bills could use their top pick on a pass rusher and get Harris in the fray to take advantage of some of that pressure.
San Francisco 49ers
Trade capital: 2nd, 36th, 67th, 104th picks
The 49ers are rapidly approaching win-now mode, and they need a corner like Chris Harris to come in along with Richard Sherman and provide that championship pedigree.
Draft Nick Bosa at number two overall, trade 36 for Chris Harris Jr., and let the awkwardness boil over at joint practices with the Broncos.
The Broncos and 49ers have done business together before. Harris could be a fit for San Francisco here. Would they be able to strike a deal?