With the NFL's 'legal tampering' window opening Monday, suddenly the Denver Broncos had competition for free-agent defensive lineman Shelby Harris. But that's likely just how Broncos GM George Paton wanted it.
The Broncos were able to see what the market would bear for Harris' services and with a good bead on that, Paton moved in and got a deal done with the veteran defensive lineman. The news was broken by Harris' agent Ryan Williams, which was then verified by 9NEWS' insider Mike Klis.
The terms? Harris got $27 million over three years, according to Ian Rapoport. We don't yet know how much of that deal is guaranteed but it's safe to assume the majority of it will run through 2021 and 2022.
Harris enters his age-30 season after joining the Broncos as a scrap-heap addition back in 2017. None, including the Broncos, likely expected him to become the force he did.
Last season, Harris proved that he was more than just a pass rusher, really stepping up his game as a run-defending defensive tackle. He had some big-time momentum before he was forced to miss a month of the season due to contracting COVID-19.
Harris also missed the final game of the season due to a knee injury but in a campaign wherein the Broncos were long eliminated from postseason contention, the team just opted to put him on injured reserve. Despite missing five games, he posted 32 tackles (20 solo), 2.5 sacks, four tackles for a loss, and seven tipped passes. He also laid 11 hits on opposing quarterbacks.
Harris' best trait is that clutch gene he possesses. When the chips are down, his penchant for making the game-clinching play is unmatched by any other defensive player in Denver save Von Miller. From blocking kicks as time expires, to intercepting future Hall-of-Fame QBs in the end zone, to tipping passes on 4th-&-Goal for all the marbles, Harris saves his best for clutch time.
Paton released a statement following the news of Harris' deal hitting the wire.
"Shelby sets the tone on our defensive line," Paton said. "As a disruptive pass rusher and physical run defender, he's hard to handle upfront. We're excited to have Shelby back with the Broncos."
Facing a defensive line depth chart that would have left only Dre'Mont Jones and McTelvin Agim as the noteworthy names, Paton ponied up and finally made sure that Harris got paid. It was a long time coming for the 6-foot-2, 290-pound veteran.
Follow Chad on Twitter @ChadNJensen.
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