DENVER -- Defensive end Shelby Harris started slowly last year, gained traction, and posted a career-best season. The 28-year-old figured to cash in this offseason, determined not to take any discounts. However, after several defensive linemen came off the board in free agency, the market softened.
As a result, the Broncos are bringing back Harris on a one-year $2.5 million deal that can reach $3.25 million with escalators. Multiple sources confirmed that Harris agreed to the contract late Friday evening.
Harris' return represents an unexpected boost. He figured to go elsewhere, especially after the Broncos acquired their top target in interior lineman Jurrell Casey, a five-time Pro Bowler, who will make $11.25 million this season. Harris provides depth and experience at a spot where the team moved on from defensive end Adam Gotsis (he is recovering from a December ACL surgery) and has not made an effort to keep fan favorite Derek Wolfe.
Harris delivered 49 tackles, six sacks and nine pass deflections last year. Harris made $3.095 million a year ago, and, according to a source, his new deal is for less guaranteed money and maxes out at $3.25 million or slightly more than his 2019 salary.
The Broncos' line boasts outside linebackers Von Miller and Bradley Chubb, and interior linemen Casey, Dre'Mont Jones, DeMarcus Walker and Mike Purcell. Harris boasts versatility. He can play inside but proved more effective last year when Purcell took over at nose tackle and Harris moved outside.