ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Chris Harris Jr. is where Von Miller was at this time three years ago.
Sitting out the Broncos’ offseason program because of a contract dispute with team management.
Miller went through some contentious times as a player slapped with a franchise tag in the spring and summer of 2016 before the Broncos made him the NFL’s highest-paid defensive player.
Harris has one year left on his deal, but wants his contract redone with a substantial pay increase.
"I feel for Chris,’’ Miller said Monday following the Broncos’ OTA practice that Harris skipped. “I definitely feel for Chris. Sometimes when you first get here they tell you that you play and you play well, they'll take care of you if you do all of the right things. If you do all of the right things in the community and you do all of the right things on the football field, they'll take care of you.’’
A player sticking up for a player.
“Chris has definitely done everything and then some,’’ Miller continued. “Whether it's in the community with his foundation or on the football field, he's always on the number one receiver. He's a top DB in the league. You want to take care of guys like that.
“But it's not all simple. It's not all as simple as it seems. I understand that. I've been through that before. Guys like Chris Harris who have done it all, really hit all of the check marks and all of the boxes, you want to take care of guys like. He deserves it 100 percent."
Counting the $1 million option bonus he received in March, Harris is scheduled to receive $8.8 million this year. That places him outside the top 20 among the league’s cornerbacks.
He’d like to be somewhere in the top two.
Broncos general manager John Elway is expected to speak to Harris’ agent Frederick Lyles this week and submit a counter to cornerback’s asking price of $15 million-plus per year.
Contract disagreements may be nothing more than about how business is done, but whenever male egos are involved, business can get personal.
“I think both sides kind of take in personally, honestly,’’ Miller said. “Whenever you talk about money and contracts, I think both sides—it’s not just the player, I think it’s guys in the front office that take it personally, too. They want to get a great deal done and have a solid deal, 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 and you look at what you want to do going forward, and whether you want to pay the guy or you don’t want to pay the guy, you just go from there. I think all the time, really the delay comes from both sides taking it personally. If you just focus on business it’ll be easy to get the deal done.”
Fear Falah suffers Achilles injury
Near the end of practice Monday, offensive guard-center Nico Falah went down with an apparent leg injury. 9NEWS has learned there was fear Falah had suffered a serious Achilles injury, although the team was waiting on results from an MRI exam.
Falah was on the Broncos’ 53-man roster the final 10 weeks of last season but was never activated on game day.
Broncos add four, cut four
Prior to their first OTA practice, the Broncos switched out four players.
Added were three tryout players from their rookie minicamp: Tight end-receiver Johnathan Howard, offensive lineman Nathan Jacobson and defensive lineman Deyon Sizer.
The Broncos also brought back veteran defensive lineman DeShawn Williams, who was with their team through last year’s offseason and training camp.
To make room for those players on their 90-man roster, the Broncos cut tight end Temarrick Hemingway, defensive lineman Caushaud Lyons, offensive lineman Brian Wallace and defensive lineman Jaylen Johnson.
Hemingway played in the Broncos’ final five games last year, almost exclusively on special teams.
As 9NEWS viewers saw and heard on May 4, Miller was working the Kentucky Derby as a fashion and lifestyle correspondent.
What did he think about the race itself in which the initial winner Maximum Security was disqualified for interference?
“I had money on that horse, so I was at the ticket box like, ‘Yeah! Yeah!’’’ Miller said. “Then I was like, ‘What?’
“I would’ve liked for it to have went the other way, but I guess that’s horse racing. I saw the replay and he kind of did veer off and it really caused a chain reaction through everybody else. There was another horse that was coming hot. (Maximum Security) probably would have won the race, but the chain reaction kind of slowed all of the horses down.
“I’m not a horse expert. I just had a little bit of time at the Kentucky Derby, but I definitely see why it was a problem.”
- Right tackle Ja’Wuan James had business in Florida to attend and missed the first day of OTAs Monday. James played his first five seasons with the Miami Dolphins, before the Broncos made him the league’s highest-paid right tackle with a four-year contract that averages $12.75 million per year.
The expectation is second-round rookie Dalton Risner will start at an offensive guard spot once the season starts. It was a little surprising, though, he lined up with the No. 1 offense at left guard on the first day of OTAs Monday. Usually, a team makes even the top rookies earn their starter position.
“Yeah, we were down in numbers at that position so a little bit of that had to do with him getting in there quicker with the earlier groups,’’ said Broncos head coach Vic Fangio.
- During the 11 on 11 drills, the offensive line was tested by the pass rush as the four quarterbacks – Joe Flacco, Kevin Hogan, Drew Lock and Brett Rypien – often had to get rid of the ball quick.
“We’re going to get tested every single day out there,’’ Flacco said. “We have a couple of guys on the edge that obviously can play football. Everybody else to go along with that—that’s a good defense over there. Having experienced that throughout my career (with the Baltimore Ravens), it’s an awesome test and an awesome advantage that we have to be able to go against a good defense, a good scheme and good pass-rushers. Everywhere you look, you have guys that can play. I think that’s going to prepare us big time.”