Will Shelby Harris’ big payday come from in or out of Denver?
Will Shelby Harris get paid by the Denver Broncos or someone else?
After spending some extensive COVID-related time off the field, Shelby Harris was finally able to return to the starting lineup for the Denver Broncos on Sunday night, and boy did they miss him.
Prior to Sunday, the Broncos defense had allowed 30+ points to opposing offenses in three of the last four weeks. But with Harris back in the lineup, the Broncos accomplished a rare feat in which they held Patrick Mahomes to his second-lowest scoring total ever (22).
What was perhaps most impressive about Harris’ return was how disruptive he was for Kansas City’s offense. Despite only taking 32 snaps, he managed to record two tackles, two passes defended and a QB hit on Mahomes, all of which came in crucial moments for the Broncos.
After Sunday’s performance, Harris finds himself ranked as the 3rd-highest rated interior defender in the NFL with a player rating of 90.0, according to PFF. It’s evident he has become an essential component of this Broncos’ defense. His ability to derange an offense, whether he gets to the quarterback or not, is a rare talent.
In addition to being an exceptional player, Harris has emerged as a vocal leader for this young football team. In the absence of Von Miller and Courtland Sutton, his leadership has played a pivotal role in the development and culture of Vic Fangio’s team.
So what does Harris’ future look like in Denver?
Well, last year, Harris tested out free agency hoping he’d cash in on a big payday. It was only after talks fell through with the Indianapolis Colts that the Broncos managed to retain Harris on perhaps the biggest bargain of the offseason, a 1-year, $3 million deal.
However, Shelby Harris’ impressive play this season is putting the Broncos in a very familiar situation to try and re-sign him to a long-term deal.
The biggest obstacle standing in the way of a deal getting made this offseason is Jurrell Casey’s $11.5 Million base salary in 2021. Luckily for the Broncos, none of it is guaranteed, so they will have the flexibility to either cut ties or restructure his deal, increasing the possibility of locking up Harris for 2021 and beyond.
5 current Broncos who might not be on the roster in 2021
The Denver Broncos may not have a ton of roster turnover in 2021, but there will be some departures. Who might not be around in 2021?
In any case, Shelby Harris has managed to deliver yet another great season. His 25 tackles, nine QB hits, and five batted passes in only eight games have not gone unnoticed. It’s likely Harris gets his big payday this offseason, whether it comes from the Denver Broncos or not.