One of the rumored top defensive targets of the Kansas City Chiefs is reportedly heading to a division rival. ESPN’s Josina Anderson reported on Twitter that Chris Harris Jr. is going to sign with the San Diego Chargers.
Harris is a former Pro Bowl defensive back who had played his entire career with the Denver Broncos. He became expendable in the Mile High City when Denver acquired another cornerback, A.J. Bouye in a trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Not long after that trade was announced, Harris was getting recruited by at least one Kansas City Chiefs player in Tyrann Mathieu.
The former Bronco and now presumptive Charger had also made it clear Kansas City was a place he wanted to play. Something changed between the beginning of the month and today, however.
As Ian Rapoport pointed out on Twitter, Harris was one of the top players left on the board, having been released once Bouye was acquired. Some members of the Chiefs and their fandom had been hoping they could snatch up one of the best defensive backs in the AFC, if not the NFL and add them to the roster.
That move would have killed two birds with one stone — improved KC’s defense while also avoiding Patrick Mahomes having to go up against Harris twice a year. Now that he will apparently land in San Diego, neither of those wishes have come true.
A four-time Pro-Bowler, Chris Harris Jr. spent nine years in Denver, recording over 500 tackles and 20 interceptions. He returned four of those interceptions for touchdowns and defended a total of 86 passes.
Harris is also someone who has performed well in the clutch. He appeared in nine playoff games over the course of his career in Denver and started seven of them. That includes starting in the playoffs and the Super Bowl in 2015, the last time the Broncos went to and won the NFL Championship game. In those nine games, he’s recorded 28 total tackles, eights passes defended and a sack. He does not have an interception in the postseason.
Last year, Harris saw his numbers slip a bit from the norm. It’s possible that’s why the Broncos were willing to see him go.
If Denver does think Chris Harris has lost a step defensively, it doesn’t appear the Kansas City Chiefs or the Chargers agree. James Palmer reported on Twitter the deal is a two-year contract worth $20 million in total. That is reportedly less than the offer he received from his former team at one time this offseason.