The Indianapolis Colts should consider Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. to help bolster the secondary.
The free agency period is fast approaching, and the main question for the Indianapolis Colts heading in is if they will be more aggressive with their $90 million in cap space after making minimal noise last offseason. There are certainly big needs to address, but with the Colts having four draft picks in the top 75, the question arises if Chris Ballard will mostly pass on top free agents.
This year should be different though. It’s important for Indy to add veterans to this roster, even if it’s more budget deals rather than the big splash. Earlier this week, we talked about A.J. Green as a possibility, and now we shift to the other side of the football.
The Indianapolis Colts defense was a bit inconsistent last season. Early in the year, they put up a great performance against Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs, beating them 19-13 in Arrowhead. However, things grew worse by the end of the season, especially through the air. In their last four games, they allowed an average of 37 points per game and were thrashed by opposing quarterbacks. This included a 456 yard, four touchdown performance from Jameis Winston, a 29/30 passing game from Drew Brees, and a 295 yard, three touchdown game by Gardner Minshew.
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There are some good pieces in the secondary for Indianapolis. Kenny Moore looks like a stud at corner, and Malik Hooker still has the range and instincts at safety. But, elsewhere, especially at the second and third corner spots, there needs to be an upgrade.
One player that Indy should look at in free agency is Broncos corner Chris Harris Jr. Harris has been excellent in a Broncos uniform ever since he was picked up as an undrafted free agent back in 2011. He has consistently been one of the top graded cornerbacks in the league. From 2011 to 2018, Harris never had a season where he allowed a passer rating over 90 in coverage. He’s always been physical at the line of scrimmage and has the quickness to mirror routes in coverage. Harris is a willing tackler and physical at the catch point.
He has been one of the top corners in both passer rating allowed and yards per cover snap throughout the past decade. Harris also had a two year stretch where he didn’t allow a touchdown in coverage. There really hasn’t been much of a drop off in his game as he’s gotten older, as he was third on PFF in passer rating allowed in 2018.
Harris brings versatility to the table as well as a cover corner. In 2018, he allowed the second lowest passer rating allowed in the slot per PFF. That versatility is a huge deal as the league shifts to more 11 personnel where three corners are needed on the field almost exclusively.
So what will Harris draw as far as market value goes? Right now, spotrac projects Harris to get around $11 million per year on his next deal. If the Colts were to sign him for two years and around $22 million, that really wouldn’t put a dent into their cap space, not to mention adding a very good player to the roster.
If Harris commands just $11 million per season, he’s absolutely worth the price with the leadership and stability that he will provide the secondary. The money is no issue, so it should be a priority for the Indianapolis Colts to bring him in and bolster their secondary.