The Eagles Plan to 'Go Hard' After Broncos' CB Chris Harris, Jr. in Free Agency: Report

KeithCummings

Denver Broncos' CB Chris Harris, Jr. is poised to hit the unrestricted waters of free agency in two months' time. The Philadelphia Eagles once had a reported interest in Harris back before October’s trade deadline but based on a new report, it could soon be rekindled.

Tony Pauline of the Pro Football Network reported earlier this week from the Senior Bowl that based on what he's heard from his sources around the league, the Eagles are expected to "go hard" after Harris, as well as other prospective free-agent cornerbacks like Dallas' Byron Jones.

The cornerback-hungry Eagles allegedly balked at Denver’s trade demands of a second-round pick last year in exchange for Harris and the deal fell apart as a result. As Harris dips his toe into the free-agent market for the first time in his decorated career, Eagles' GM Howie Roseman appears to have prioritized him.

Harris' hold-out of Broncos OTAs last spring and some of his subsequent remarks indicate that he's looking to cash in and become one of — if not the — highest-paid corners in the game. As a former undrafted rookie out of Kansas, he's keen to feel wanted and loved by whichever team he signs with going into his 10th NFL season.

“Of course, [you] play better when you know the team really loves you and they want you there," Harris said on December 30th as he cleaned out his locker. "Of course, my next situation will have that and I will know the team loves me and I’ll be all in in trying to figure out what we can do."

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Setting his sights on what may be his last big payday via free agency is something the veteran has fully embraced and planned for after his long stay in the Mile High City. Having already thrown out GM John Elway’s three-year, $36 million offer back in October, Harris switched agents with the goal of gaining a better contract on the open market. Reading into that, Harris wants to do all he can to maximize this free-agency period and prove to all 32 teams that he still has plenty of gas left in the tank.

“I have a lot left. I feel great," Harris said in December. "I was able to play all season, every game and also do a lot more running than I’ve done in the past—chasing the guy around all game, chasing the best player all-around all game, teams doing no huddle, being able to stay conditioned through the whole season with that. It’s a lot tougher than anything I’ve ever done. Trust me..”

Last season certainly proved to be no bed of roses for Harris after going to bat publicly with his desire to play outside corner. Heading into his contract year, he wanted to prove he was a lot more than just a slot corner in order to increase his exposure and potentially add to his value as a true lockdown corner before he became an unrestricted free agent.

His struggles on the outside were compounded by the Broncos' injury problems at the cornerback position, which exposed a lack of depth and forced Harris into a heftier workload as the season wore on. Playing outside and subsequently posting arguably his least-impressive season as a pro, NFL teams might now wonder whether he's a player in decline.

The Eagles don't appear to be of such a mind, though. A couple weeks ago, Harris appeared on the Rich Eisen show and talked about what the future might hold. One thing that the veteran corner made clear is that a return to Denver is still very much on the table.

“Yeah, there is a chance, there is man," Harris said. "We know they need corners there, so I defiantly know I’m probably high on their list for sure."

History tells us that the free-agent market tends to set itself and those tough contract negotiations have a nasty habit of not working out as frequently. A smart, older veteran like Harris will be sure to leverage the Eagles' interest in his services and use it to his advantage when it comes to any other potential suitors, including the Broncos.

If the Broncos want to keep Harris around, odds are, they'll have to be willing to open up the checkbook and compete with other cornerback-desperate teams like the Eagles. However, keeping one's options open is a big part of the cloak-and-dagger free agency game and Harris is intent on playing that element to the bone.

Follow Keith on Twitter @KeithC_NFL and @MileHighHuddle.

Comments (12)
No. 1-9
Brew77
Brew77

Not surprising the Eagles need a quality CB and Harris is still a top 10 CB in this league. The problem is I don’t believe the Eagles have a lot of cap room now that can change when they start cutting players they no longer want. It won’t just be the Eagles with interest in Harris there will probably be about 3 or 4 teams CB is a high priority position that teams value. The thing is the Broncos are probably going to pay just about the same price that Harris will get from another team especially if they bring in the top CB’s such as Byron Jones James Bradberry or expected cut guys like A.J. Boye. Back in 2014 the last time Elway went on a spending spree the first one he signed was Aqib Talib I kinda look for him to do the same this year signing Harris’s replacement first.

Erick   Trickel
Erick Trickel

Editor

Another team to watch for Chris Harris is the Detroit Lions.

Denverkewl
Denverkewl

I'm sorry but his mouth is writing checks his play and tape can't cash. He'll "play better for someone that wants him??" Really???...give me a break. Elway paid you $3mm extra so u can cop an attitude now? You said you didn't have your head right? What about your fans dude? What a freakin waste. All of us who had your back and cheered u on for so many years and expected your best in a contract year?? All those missed 3rd down plays, extended drives and TDs you were FLAT smoked on is a big reason we had a losing record. Go get paid dude...and lose a step and get smoked on someone else's dime. The Broncos cannot afford to pay a guy with this kind of attitude and tape and trust he will show up. He now is trading on his name, emotion, history but not on his play anymore. This is what makes keeping him high risk. So we pay him and we get what we just got then what? Blame someone else? Don't talk to me about scheme when you want top CB money to get your head right.

KeithCummings
KeithCummings

The issue for the Broncos will be the time and money aspect of replacing what has been a massively productive player for them. Either way you slice it gonna be weird seeing CHJ in a different uniform if it happens.

RickyBobby_0815
RickyBobby_0815

Will be interesting to see how Sullivan's replacement handles the negotiations. Would love to see CHJ back but don't see him as a fit because Fangio's D is almost the exact opposite of what Philips ran. No need for corners who play man, less blitzing and LBs are asks to cover more.
If CHJ does walk, I hope they open up the check book for Jones because the depth at CB is there but questionable.

Kebby77
Kebby77

We should go after AJ Bouye

Kebby77
Kebby77

I understand he wants paid and he was underpaid in the past 2 years or so but if we hadn't given him a chance in this leage he might not be in the NFL. I guess he feels like he needs to cash in like Revis did. I wouldnt give him more than the 13 mill a year for 3 years and no more than 20 mill guarenteed .

Brainco
Brainco

You said it with the quote about teams wondering if “Harris is a player in decline”. Answer is a simple “yes”. Let him walk.

Ringneck1
Ringneck1

This story underscores what has been a huge problem since the super bowl win over Carolina. Veteran players not able to back up their mouths. Veterans have really let this team down. Every year chj has a new claim about how good he's gonna be, & it's already started with chj and von Miller this off season (von is apparently going to be in really good shape this year??). Every year the local media drinks the coolaid. And every year, they fail the eye-test. In Harris's case, the truth says he is on the decline. Speed was never his game which he hid with great coverage skills. Now that they are declining too the lack of speed is unmistakable. Denver will not regret Chj passing on 3&$36 million in a year from now. Hard to see a vet go but it's time.


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