Leading up to the NFL Draft, most football news involves prospects and other aspects of the draft. This year, though, we’ve gotten a lot of non-draft news that could significantly impact teams’ draft strategies. Just today, Frank Clark was traded and Robbie Gould requested a trade from the 49ers.
Harris is a Pro Bowl-caliber cornerback that many teams would be very happy to have. Harris is currently signed to a 5-year, $42 million contract; he is entering the final year of his deal.
Harris is too good for merely a $7 million yearly salary, and doesn’t want to go into the year on an expiring contract that doesn’t pay him what he believes he’s worth. Earl Thomas tried something similar in Seattle last season, was unsuccessful, and suffered a season-ending injury before the year was out.
The Broncos will have no shortage of suitors for Harris’ talents, but will likely do their best to keep the star corner. If they can’t come to terms, however, they’ll want to move him during the draft, when the trade can pay immediate dividends. They’ll be looking for a haul similar to what the Seahawks got for Frank Clark, a less-proven player at an equally important position.
It may be difficult to find a team willing to pay that high a price on such short notice, though. The Patriots have been willing to pay cornerbacks big money and trade picks for veterans, but they wouldn’t be interested in giving a first-round pick for the privilege of giving Harris a big extension. Denver may have to settle for a second rounder and a smattering of third and fourth rounders if they decide to offload Harris and prevent the hubbub from dragging on throughout the remainder of of the offseason.