The Broncos, however, did make an extension offer before the trade deadline. Harris said (via The Athletic’s Nicki Jhabvala, on Twitter) the team proposed a three-year, $36M deal. This came months after the sides could not agree on extension terms over the summer, leading to a rare contract-year pay raise for the four-time Pro Bowler. The Broncos bumped Harris’ 2019 salary to $12.05M. He was one of the top trade candidates in October, with the Lions making an offer. But the Broncos kept him.
Harris expects to have a new deal by the time the 2020 league year opens on March 18, with Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post adding (via Twitter) the nine-year veteran does not plan to take visits. That’s a common free agency practice for high-end players. Harris bypassed 2015 free agency to sign a five-year, $42.5M deal to stay in Denver. Although some members of the organization would prefer the team retain Harris on a third contract, the final member of the Broncos’ No-Fly Zone secondary may well depart Denver.
John Elway has identified Justin Simmons as a player the Broncos would like to keep, and it looks like — via long-term deal before free agency or through the franchise tag — the breakout safety will be back in Denver next season. The nine-year GM did not commit to Harris in the same way, indicating it will be up to how the Broncos can fit contracts into their cap space — which currently is projected to stand at $65.6M.
Injuries and inexperience at cornerback forced the Broncos to play Harris in a less familiar role this season. The Broncos did not use the acclaimed slot defender much in the slot this season. While Harris fared well against several high-end wideouts, he struggled at times as well. Pre-free agency extensions and franchise tags may well commence, but as of now Harris, Trae Waynes, Byron Jones and ex-Bronco Bradley Roby are among the top cornerbacks set for free agency.
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