Denver Broncos defensive lineman Shelby Harris is having a career year in 2019 as he prepares for free agency in the Spring.
The Denver Broncos have a pretty fascinating group of players on the last year of their current contracts.
That list includes defensive lineman Shelby Harris, who is having a career year in 2019 for the Broncos.
The Broncos, once upon a time, signed Harris as a reserve/futures contract player who had previously spent time with teams like the Oakland Raiders (who drafted him), New York Jets, and Dallas Cowboys.
Harris found his footing in Denver and was making so many plays in camp and in the preseason that he cracked a pretty darn good defensive line in 2017, the first year of Vance Joseph’s tenure as Broncos head coach.
Despite the fact that 2017 was a year to forget for Broncos fans, Harris had a breakout season with 5.5 sacks, seven tackles for loss, a blocked field goal, and three passes batted down. He played in all 16 games, starting six, and put himself on the map as a player who could not only contribute but be relied upon anytime he was in the game.
The Broncos have continued to use Harris as a rotational player since 2017, playing him on a putridly low 36.2 percent of snaps in 2018 and bumping that way up to almost 57 percent in 2019.
Although that percentage seems low, Harris has played the eighth-most snaps of any defensive player on the Broncos’ roster and he’s made the most of the increased reps.
Harris has set a career-high with six sacks in 2019 as well as a whopping seven batted passes. He’s tied his career-high of eight tackles for loss and has a new career-high of 45 total tackles.
There was a concerning report from Andrew Mason that Harris and head coach Vic Fangio were not on the same page, but that report has since been refuted, including by Harris.
Harris is in line for a really nice payday this offseason, as you would expect of a guy who has set a career-high in tackles, sacks, batted passes, and soon-to-be tackles for loss.
The Broncos have some players in-house who could be considered as long-term solutions, but Harris is a player worth investing in depending on what kind of price we’re talking about.
He’s proven to be a consistent player in terms of availability for three straight seasons, and he plays his butt off. He’s also capable of impacting the game in a variety of ways, not only as a pass rusher but as a run defender and getting his hand in passing lanes when he doesn’t get home for a sack.
He’s also obviously able to sneak in there and block kicks. We’ve seen him do that a couple of times in his three years with the Broncos.
Hopefully, these next two games won’t be the last we see of Harris in Denver. The Broncos have plenty of cap space to work with this offseason and they obviously need to be smart about how they spend it, but Harris is a guy who has proven himself to be durable and he’s had a career-year in Vic Fangio’s defense.