Despite winning their first Super Bowl championship in half a century, the Kansas City Chiefs enter an important offseason. Creative moves will need to be made to free up some salary cap space, especially if Kansas City wants to retain Chris Jones. At the same time, there will need to be some additions to the roster entering 2020. We will begin our Chiefs free agent outlook today, with our first target. That would be veteran cornerback Chris Harris Jr.
At cornerback, the only players that are under contract with ample experience are Charvarius Ward and Rashad Fenton. Both showed confidence, and that they had what it took to hang in 2019. Meanwhile, the team is likely to lose one of Bashaud Breeland or Kendall Fuller, if not both to free agency. Eventually, a replacement will step into the building at Arrowhead. There are a few different reasons why Harris Jr could be a fit. Now, let’s get things started by listing those here.
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Gas Left In the Tank?
Many cornerbacks who will be turning 31 during a given offseason would not have the potential upside that Chris Harris Jr has left. First of all, he is very reliable. He has played in all 16 games in seven of his first nine career seasons. The production Harris Jr has accumulated has still been respectable over the last few years. He may not quite be the shutdown corner he was during the Broncos glory years. However, it is still tough for most quarterbacks to best the veteran defender in short to intermediate routes. We have seen Tyreek Hill blow by Harris Jr over the last few years. But, this pending free agent is still moderately effective down the field.
In addition to pass coverage, Chris Harris Jr has been a willing tackler in run support. He has averaged 57.5 tackles per season throughout his career. From what we have seen, Harris Jr is still prideful in laying the boom on opponents. Grades from Pro Football Focus are not the be all, end all. Though, this cornerback has continued to grade out fairly well with a Broncos defense that is going through growing pains around him.
With several team salary cap situations to monitor, along with a possible record number of players receiving franchise tags, this offseason is going to be wild. Plus, the free agent class is one of the most star studded in a long time. The fun part will be that we have little to actually expect. Prognosticating every move exactly would be merely impossible.
On the other hand, there seems to be a strong connection between Chris Harris Jr and the Kansas City Chiefs. Going back to his college days, he played locally at the University of Kansas. Many KU fans are also Chiefs fans, and likely would not be opposed to having Harris Jr on their favorite squad once again. Back at the University of Kansas, he was part of the team that won the Orange Bowl in 2008.
On the Rich Eisen show in January, Harris Jr agreed that the Chiefs would be a good fit for him. Check out the video here: https://youtu.be/iC21PaVdt0M
Tyrann Mathieu also had a friendly exchange back and forth with him on Twitter earlier this week. Highlights from that include Mathieu tweeting, “always wanted to strap with you (in regards to Harris Jr). Could ya imagine, two of the shortest holding court every Sunday.”
The pending free agent tweeted back with this: “Tell your people to call my people brother it’s on.”
This came off of the heels of the Denver Broncos acquiring cornerback AJ Bouye in a trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Tuesday. Quickly afterwards, Chris Harris Jr took to Twitter saying, “lol, they might have to see me now.”
Could he be on the other end of the Chiefs-Broncos heated AFC West rivalry?
The Missing Link
Of course, it would be exciting for a veteran, stud cornerback to leave one division rival for another. We mentioned the local familiarity earlier. Fans of Kansas City already seem to hold a great deal of respect and likeness for Chris Harris Jr. Additionally, he seems like he would embrace coming to Kansas City. Being able to join a Super Bowl winner/contender and a cast like that of the Chiefs would be difficult to say no to.
Nonetheless, plenty of teams will have their eyes set on Harris Jr this offseason. In fact, reports suggest that his representation has talked with nearly all but a few of the teams in the NFL. So, bringing him to town for donning the red and gold will not be an easy task.
The player and team fit makes a lot of sense. Chris Harris Jr can help out the Chiefs, by being the final piece to the puzzle in the secondary. Moreover, the player would be back in a winning environment for the first time since the Broncos won the Super Bowl in 2015. Kansas City does not have to break the bank for him, nor could they do so that harshly. It is very possible however, that we could see the Chiefs sign free agent Chris Harris Jr to a fair deal.
Be on the lookout for more Chiefs offseason coverage. Included, will be draft prospect profiles and free agency pieces like this one. For more great sports and NFL content, stay tuned to Full Press Coverage.
– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs managing editor for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on Follow @ebearcat9//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Follow @FPC_Chiefs//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js and Facebook.