Chris Harris got a one-year salary bump in May, ending an offseason of questions for the Denver Broncos' top cornerback.
The best part of the deal for Harris is that not only did he get a pay raise for 2019, but he retained the ability to hit the free-agent market next offseason. If the 30-year-old stays healthy and continues to play up to his normal caliber, he's in for a sizable deal in 2020.
"It's a big relief just to go out there and focus on doing my thing this year, knowing that next year I got an opportunity to cash in and be able to dictate the rest of my life and career and I'm excited about that," Harris told NFL Network's Good Morning Football on Wednesday.
Despite enjoying the ability to be a free agent next year, Harris hopes his next contract keeps him in Denver, where he's played his entire career since going undrafted in 2011.
"I've always wanted to retire a Bronco and finish my career there," he said. "Going on Year 9, so this is a huge year for me so hopefully after this year they'll want to lock me up and keep me here for life."
Harris' NFL journey is an incredible tale of persistence, skill, and work ethic. After going undrafted out of Kansas, the 5-foot-10 defensive back worked his way into a starting role, and eventually became the stickiest slot corner in the NFL -- a vital position with the proliferation of three-receiver sets and prolific slot receivers. His status as an undrafted player, however, suppressed his ability to get paid big bucks early in his career. In order to see his first huge payday, he had to redo his contract early, which ultimately led to this offseason's issues.
Whether John Elway is willing to meet Harris' contract demands -- he didn't acquiesce on a long-term deal this offseason -- to keep him in Denver the rest of his career is something to tackle after the season.
For now, Harris keeps that underdog chip on his shoulder, and is out to prove once again he's one of the top corners in the NFL.
"I'm definitely a top 25 player," Harris said when asked about NFL Network's Top 100 Players of 2019 list. "I don't know where you have me yet, but I think over my career and everything that I've done, I've definitely been the best slot in the NFL since I got in the league since 2011; you can look at the numbers on that. I'm definitely in the top 25 every year I should be."