News broke on Tuesday that star Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. was requesting a trade if not given a new contract. After the first day of the NFL draft passed with Harris still a Bronco, Ian Rapoport reported today Harris could by dealt by the end of the weekend. Harris is getting up there in age (29) by NFL standards, but was still one of the better corners in the league last year, and most teams would love to have him. Here are four teams that should reach out and test the waters.
Indianapolis is as perfect as it can get for Harris. They have plenty of draft capital after trading out of the first round, and can give Denver the immediate payout they’re looking for without leaving themselves bereft of valuable picks. They still have a ton of cap space left over after a relatively quiet free agency, and they have a rather large hole at cornerback. They wouldn’t have to give up any crucial picks and have the means and desire to extend Harris. Chris Ballard is a savvy GM who will push John Elway as far as he can in regards to compensation, but it wouldn’t be a shock to see Harris in Indy by Monday.
New England Patriots
The biggest obstacle in this scenario is Harris’ desire for a new contract; the Pats have their No. 1 corner locked up in Stephon Gilmore, so Harris would just be rather expensive gravy, something Bill Belichick historically has not had interest in. But if they could come to a two-year extension, New England would be a great fit for Harris. Belichick has 11 picks over the next two days and the team’s draft board is reportedly shorter than normal. Acquiring Harris for a third round pick and a few late-rounders would be a steal; once the contract trickery is settled up, the Pats would have a defensive backfield to rival any other in the league.
The staff up in Seattle is generally quite good at developing cornerbacks, and as such don’t need a big trade to give them a quality secondary. But, in typical Seahawks fashion, they’ve replenished their draft pick cupboard with some first-round maneuvering and should consider giving up a few to nab Harris. He’d elevate their secondary from good to great immediately, with potential to be elite, depending on the development of Shaquill Griffin and the rest of Seattle’s young corners. The finances would present an issue, but if Seattle wants him, they can get him.
Los Angeles Rams
As last year proved, the Rams aren’t afraid to trade picks for players that can help them win now. They have some wiggle room in regards to their draft picks after trading out of the end of the first round on Thursday night, and Harris would be an immediate upgrade for their below-average secondary. The financials would be tricky, but with Marcus Peters in a contract year, the Rams may be more willing to pay for the proven Harris than Peters in the future, but would have both for this season. It may require some more draft-day maneuvering to make sure they aren’t totally out of draft picks, but with the attitude the Rams have had over the last 18 months, a Harris trade would be anything but a surprise.