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Chris Harris to Sign 2-Year Contract with Chargers Worth Roughly $20 Million

Megan ArmstrongSenior Analyst IMarch 18, 2020

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 22:  Chris Harris #25 of the Denver Broncos smiles as players warm up before a game against the Detroit Lions at Empower Field at Mile High on December 22, 2019 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Former Denver Broncos All-Pro cornerback Chris Harris Jr. cashed in on his first free agency by agreeing to a deal with the Los Angeles Chargers.

Harris confirmed his impending move to ESPN's Josina Anderson.

Chris Harris @ChrisHarrisJr

Broncos Country......THANK YOU! It's been an amazing 9 years. I want to thank the entire Denver Broncos organization for believing in a young, undrafted kid from Oklahoma. Thank you to my teammates, coaches and… https://t.co/znZ1GWp41w

Harris also told 9News.com's Mike Klis the deal is for two years and roughly $20 million:

Mike Klis @MikeKlis

Just talked to Chris Harris. He said 2 yrs "$20 (mill) something," with Chargers. He turned down 3-year offer w/Raiders. "I liked the Chargers' defense. Bosa, Ingram, Casey Hayward, Derwin James, Desmond King. I like their secondary. I'll fit right in with those boys." #9sports

Mike Klis @MikeKlis

Harris said he didn't pick Chargers so he could play twice a year vs Broncos: "It didn't go down like that. It was just most of the interest was from the AFC West or AFC. There wasn't any disrespect to Broncos." Said Saints and Philly were also interested. #9sports https://t.co/v1xY9dFRav

The Dallas Morning News' Calvin Watkins reported the New Orleans Saints had shown interest prior to his decision and that the Dallas Cowboys, New York Jets and Las Vegas Raiders were no longer in the running. Troy Renck of Denver7 included the Philadelphia Eagles among the interested parties prior to his agreement with Los Angeles.

Harris had expressed a desire to stay in Denver when meeting with the media after the 2019 regular season concluded.

"I'd love to," Harris told reporters. "We're getting the right pieces back—definitely need some more pieces around me to just do what I do. That's one thing I'm looking at in the offseason. My family loves it here. Of course, my kids growing up here. I grew up here. It's definitely my first home for sure."

However, Harris did seem to hint that the Broncos weren't all-in on him: "When you know the team really loves you and they want you there (you play better). 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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Harris' future in Denver was muddied when the team traded with the Jacksonville Jaguars for cornerback A.J. Bouye.

Harris signed with the Broncos as an undrafted free agent in 2011. The 30-year-old signed a five-year, $42.5 million extension in December 2014 and re-upped on a one-year deal worth $12.05 million in May 2019.

According to Klis (h/t ProFootballTalk), the Broncos offered a two-year, $25 million extension to Harris prior to the 2019 league trade deadline. Harris rejected and bet on himself in free agency.

The University of Kansas product has earned four Pro Bowl nods with the Broncos, most recently in 2018, and more importantly was a crucial piece during the team's Super Bowl 50 run in 2015-16. Harris has recorded at least one interception in each season with four years with a career-high three picks. Overall, he has six forced fumbles, 20 picks, 86 passes defended and 518 tackles (443 solo) across 139 games (121 starts).

Harris has proved durable, too, playing all 16 regular-season games in seven of his nine NFL campaigns.

Los Angeles will likely line Harris up in the secondary, further strengthening a unit that ranked fifth last season in passing defense.

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