ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller believes cornerback Chris Harris Jr. deserves a new contract and Miller said Monday he believes it can get done if both sides can put business in front of hard feelings.
Miller was drawing on his own experiences, in 2016, when he skipped the team’s offseason program during sometimes-contentious negotiations with Broncos’ brass on the way to Miller’s eventual blockbuster $114.5 million deal.
“I talk to Chris all the time … this is our ninth year playing football together,” Miller said. ” … We kind of go through the process together, it takes a while, you’ve just got to stay level-headed. With a guy like Chris, he’s done every single thing right on and off the football field, he’s checked every single box … Chris definitely has to get what’s right for him, he’s done everything right.”
Harris, a four-time Pro Bowl selection, has skipped the Broncos’ voluntary offseason program as he seeks a new deal. Harris is now in the last year of a five-year, $42.5 million deal he signed in 2015 and would be an unrestricted free agent after the 2019 season.
President of football operations and general manager John Elway and Harris’ representatives have had some minimal contact since the draft, but no substantive negotiations have taken place. Harris is believed to be seeking a contract extension worth $15 million a year and the Broncos have yet to show any interest in hitting that number.
The Broncos were 6-6 this past season after a win in Cincinnati, a game in which Harris suffered a fractured lower leg. He missed the last four games of the season and the Broncos lost them all on the way to a 6-10 finish.
Earlier this offseason, Harris said: “It’s late in my career and I can’t waste any years anymore. It’s time for me to win. I always wanted to retire here and finish my career here, but I’m ready to see what changes and things we do.”
Miller’s own negotiations, in the wake of his Super Bowl 50 MVP performance, were sometimes testy, including Miller posting a photo from the team’s visit to the White House in June 2016 in which he had cropped Elway out of the photo.
Asked Monday if it’s difficult not to take negotiations personally, Miller said that holds true for both sides.
“I think both sides kind of take it personally, honestly,” Miller said. “I think both sides kind of take it personally, I think when you talk about money and contracts, both sides, not just the player, but the guys in the front office take it personally too, they want to get a great deal done too … if you really focus on business and it’s all about business, it’s easy to get it done, you look at what’s been done, you look at what you want to do going forward, whether you want to pay the guy, or you don’t want to pay the guy and you just go from there.”
The Broncos opened their first set of OTA workouts Monday.