Chris Harris, Jr. is exactly two weeks away from being able to sign with any team who wants him. The four-time Pro Bowl cornerback will be an unrestricted free agent and he's relishing the opportunity to test the market.
Harris has made the rounds since the 2019 NFL season ended and at every stop, he's publicly kept the door open to return to the Denver Broncos. However, with the news breaking on Tuesday that Denver has acquired CB A.J. Bouye via trade from the Jacksonville Jaguars, it seems the team might have already made its decision.
Harris took to Twitter shortly after the Bouye news broke to congratulate Bouye.
Like Harris, Bouye is a former undrafted free agent who clawed his way into the league against extremely stiff odds. Harris is like a Patron Saint for any and all undrafted pros, especially those who share his position. It shows class for Harris to reach out on social media and tap Bouye in congratulations.
However, in the next breath, Harris fired figurative shots at the Broncos, telegraphing to the rival Kansas City Chiefs that he's all ears by way of DB Tyrann Mathieu on Twitter.
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The Chiefs have been mentioned multiple times as a potential suitor for Harris, mostly because the Super Bowl champions are poised to have two massive holes at cornerback. However, with Patrick Mahomes and Chris Jones looking to get paid this spring, the Chiefs might not be able to find the room to fit Harris under the salary cap.
Harris spoke to the notion of playing in Kansas City back in January.
“I’m listening to everybody," Harris said on the Rich Eisen show. "I’m listening to everybody for sure. Kansas, I went to school there so that’s like another home for me, too. [I’ve got] a big following there. So I’m definitely looking at everybody, man. But like you said, I don’t see why it wouldn’t be a good fit.”
No matter how it shakes out, one thing we know is that the soon-to-be 31-year-old Harris is going to have a serious market for his services. Harris' camp reportedly met with 75% of the league at the NFL Combine last week, and at least five teams have serious interest in the veteran cornerback.
If the Bouye trade indeed signals the last of Harris in Denver, it will punctuate a phenomenal nine-year run highlighted by a Super Bowl victory and a lot of individual success. The Broncos paid Harris in 2014 and gave him a raise worth more than $3 million last spring but the Bouye trade could signal a true changing of the guard at cornerback for the team.
Head coach Vic Fangio has had his eye on Bouye for at least three years and believes in him as a perfect fit for his scheme. Meanwhile, Harris didn't have a great year one in Fangio's system, and yet, the Broncos still offered Harris an extension ahead of the trade deadline that would have paid him $12M per year, which he declined.
It might simply be time to part ways and if indeed that's how it shakes out, don't worry. Harris will return to Denver eventually as a likely enshrinee into the Broncos' Ring of Fame.