Former first-team All Pro cornerback and Super Bowl champion Chris Harris may not be a member of the Denver Broncos for much longer, according to a report by ESPN’s Jeff Legwold. Harris reportedly wants a new deal that will make him the highest-paid corner in the league, and if the Broncos will not give him a new deal, then he will hope to get it somewhere else.
With cornerback currently being the biggest need on the Detroit Lions, it is easy to see why general manager Bob Quinn would be interested in acquiring the star corner, but should he?
Harris is entering the final year of his five-year, $42 million deal he signed with the Broncos in 2015. He has played eight seasons in the NFL since signing with Denver as an undrafted free agent out of Kansas in 2011. The corner intercepted 19 passes in his eight years in Denver, returning four for touchdowns. He has also been credited with 80 passes defended. In 2018, he tied a career high by intercepting three passes in a season that was cut short by a leg injury.
With only a year left on his contract and the now public knowledge of his desire to be traded, the Broncos will not have much leverage in a potential trade. The team who receives Harris will also have to either give him the deal he wants—which would make him the highest-paid corner in the league per NFL Network’s James Palmer—or be okay giving up assets for a one-year rental.
Lucky for any potential suitors for Harris, NFL teams seem suddenly willing to take Day 3 picks for star players on expiring contracts in recent years. The Miami Dolphins recently dealt EDGE Robert Quinn to the Dallas Cowboys for a sixth-round pick, the Philadelphia Eagles received DeSean Jackson and a seventh rounder from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a sixth rounder.
There is a chance that Detroit could land Harris for a Day 3 pick, and if that’s the case, then they have no reason not to jump on that opportunity. Even if they have to part with a third rounder for Harris, the deal will be a steal for Detroit.
Despite nearing 30, Harris remains as one of the best corners in the league. He is one of the league’s better corners in off coverage, but can beat up receivers at the line and stick with them in press coverage as well. He has great instincts and play-making skills, making him a lockdown zone corner as well. Harris also has the physicality and agility to kick inside to play nickel as well.
As the team looks to potentially change around their coverage next season, a player as versatile as Harris is a perfect fit.
The only potential issue that arises in this trade is Harris’ contract situation. If he gets traded to Detroit and the Lions do not want to give him a new deal, he may just hold out. If the Palmer report is to be believed, Harris will want around $15 million a year. Cornerback Darius Slay will already cost $15 million this season and newly-signed nickel Justin Coleman will count for an $11 million cap charge. The combination of the Lions top three corners would cost around $41 million. Add in Quandre Diggs $6 million cap charge this season and the team now has around $47 million invested in their top four defensive backs.
Slay will also be entering a contract year in 2020, and he has also earned a huge extension. Signing Harris to a long deal may make extending Slay a little harder next offseason. Harris is only a year older than Slay, though, and one could argue Harris is a much better player.
The addition of Harris would make the Lions secondary one of the best in the league and he will surely be worth whatever draft picks the team will have to send for him. Giving him the extension he wants could prove costly to the team down the line. If the team truly is all in on 2019, though, then making an offer for Harris seems like a no brainer.
Should the Lions trade for Chris Harris?
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