The 2019 season has officially come to a close for the Denver Broncos. Denver finished the season on a high note with a 16-15 victory versus the Oakland Raiders.
The franchise will now turn their attention towards the offseason, which will include several significant decisions that will mold the team for next season.
Denver has a slew of players set to hit the free-agent market, but one of the most notable names is cornerback Chris Harris Jr. Harris is one of the last players from the Broncos Super Bowl 50 squad, and he is expected to weigh all of his options on the market this offseason.
The superstar cornerback held out of the beginning of the year after some displeasure with his base salary for the 2019 season. Denver did good on their part and bumped Harris’ salary up for the 2019 season to get him on the field.
Harris was sharp in 2019, recording 56 tackles and an interception to pair with his playmaking ability against opposing receivers.
And going back a bit, Denver signed Harris as an undrafted free agent in 2011, and he quickly emerged as a leader of the team and a top-flight defender in the NFL.
Harris has always loved playing in Denver, so there is reason to be optimistic that the two sides could strike a deal this offseason; however, Harris posted a cryptic tweet Sunday, which gave the impression his time as a Bronco could be over.
Thank You Broncos Country for everything. It’s incredible what we’ve accomplished. Undrafted and 9 years later…Love y’all !!!!! 🙏🏾🙌🏾
— Chris Harris (@ChrisHarrisJr) December 30, 2019
To add fuel to the fire, The Atheltic reports that the Broncos offered Harris a three-year, $36 million contracts prior to the trade deadline that he ultimately declined.
The deal would have paid Harris roughly an average of $12 million a season, which is slightly below the range of the NFL’s elite cornerbacks.
That said, Harris is 30 years old and is entering the twilight of his career. While Harris wants to be paid close to $15 million per season, it’s unlikely a team will cough up that type of money for a cornerback on the backend of his career.
Regardless of his age, Harris was willing to roll the dice on himself in 2019, and will test the waters of free agency this offseason.
When discussing his impending free agency during the season, Harris appeared to be melancholy about what his future could be in Denver.
“I’m just so thankful for the Broncos,” Harris said during the year. “I had a great nine years here. Whatever happens, happens, but I’m just focused on finishing the year strong and doing whatever I can do to go into the game with a clear mind and play the best I can.”
Harris was one of the Broncos’ best players on defense in 2019, and adjusted to head coach Vic Fangio’s system swiftly.
Entering a new decade, the Broncos could use some veteran leadership to anchor their secondary, which is why the idea of retaining Harris is intriguing; however, should he receive a lucrative contract offer elsewhere, Harris is probably good as gone.