CB Chris Harris Jr.: Stay or go?
The Denver Broncos were unwilling to budge on possibly trading Chris Harris Jr. at the 2019 NFL trade deadline, presumably because they were asking for a 2nd or 3rd round pick in return for him.
It’s not unreasonable considering the fact that Harris has played at an incredibly high level since the Broncos picked him up as an undrafted free agent in John Elway’s first year on the job back in 2011.
Harris is a Denver legend at this point, helping lead the No Fly Zone and bring the team its first Super Bowl win since 1999.
This season, Harris has given up more yards per target (11.3) and more touchdowns per target (3 TDs allowed in 48 targets) than he did last year (7.0 yards per target, 4 TDs in 71 targets) but is still a player the Broncos can rely on.
At this point in his career, however, the Broncos have to consider whether he’s worth the price he’s demanding. Harris wants to be one of the highest paid cornerbacks in the NFL and there are six players making over $14 million per season on their new contracts.
My guess is, Harris is going to want to be included in that group. Heading into his age 31 season, can the Broncos justify it?
That’s tough to say.
The Broncos will have to look at all of the alternatives on their current roster, in the 2020 NFL Draft, and in the rest of free agency.
Although I’m on record as saying the only valid reason for not trading Harris is that the Broncos intend to re-sign him, I’m not so sure due to his age and the amount of money he’s looking for.
The Broncos have Bryce Callahan back next year, De’Vante Bausby back, and they return young players like Duke Dawson, Davontae Harris, and Isaac Yiadom. If they really trust their player development, that’s a good core and they could scour free agency for a player who might not be as expensive as Harris but capable of fitting in with the defense.
This one is a tough call given Harris’ age and contract demands. The sentimental part of me says to keep him at any cost. The team-builder part of me says to look into the alternatives.