After the Los Angeles Chargers' decision to part ways with longtime starting quarterback Philip Rivers, the signing of former Denver Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. probably constitutes their biggest acquisition of the offseason from a name-recognition standpoint. Harris, one of the finest slot corners to ever play the game, moves from one AFC West team to another, potentially establishing Los Angeles as the most talented secondary in the NFL.
Harris gives the Chargers plenty of reasons to feel enthusiastic about the upcoming season. His nine years of dominant play thus far made him not just a premier player at his position, but one of the best defenders in all of football. Pro Football Focus ranked Harris at the No. 12 overall player of the past decade.
12. CB CHRIS HARRIS JR.
Chris Harris Jr.'s career has been a remarkable thing to behold. An undrafted player out of Kansas, Harris forced his way onto the team as a nickel corner, played so well he earned snaps outside in base and then so well at that that he became a true No.1 cornerback who didn't even play in the slot anymore. Harris has been targeted over 600 times in the decade, and yet surrendered just 6.3 yards per reception. Over the course of the 2010s, only Richard Sherman allowed fewer receiving yards per snap in coverage than the 0.89 Chris Harris did, and nobody did it with a more varied role within his defense or a tougher path to success than hitting the league as an undrafted free agent.
Harris might have come from humble roots, but he has outperformed all but a few players during his time in the NFL. The Chargers might not know how much longer he plans to play -- the corner turns 31 in June -- but Harris should provide steady play in the secondary in the short term.
-- Jason B. Hirschhorn is an award-winning sports journalist and Pro Football Writers of America member. Follow him on Twitter: @by_JBH