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Shelby Harris has formal visit with Broncos

A popular defensive end for Broncos from 2017-21, Harris was part of Russell Wilson trade with Seattle last year and is now a free agent.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — It's not just that the Broncos need a 3-4 defensive lineman. They need an interior defensive lineman who can rush the passer.

Shelby Harris, an old friend, would fit the Broncos' need. Harris, who turns 32 in two weeks, visited with his former team Friday.

As of now, the Broncos interest in Harris is exploratory. He played five seasons for the Broncos from 2017-21, specializing in knocking down passes at the line of scrimmage and posting impressive sack totals for an interior defensive lineman of 5.5 in 2017 when he played for head coach Vance Joseph, 6.0 in 2019 and 6.0 in 2021. Joseph is now the Broncos' defensive coordinator so Harris, who has made the Denver area his family home, would need virtually no time to acclimate to his hometown's defense -- and no moving expenses.

He signed a three-year, $27 million contract extension with the Broncos prior to 2021, and collected his second year of pay from Seattle, where he wound up last season as part of the Russell Wilson trade. Harris had 2.0 sacks in 16 games for Seattle, 15 as a starter.

Released by the Seahawks in mid-March in lieu of the remaining $8.9 million non-guaranteed money left on his contract, Harris has been a free agent the past 4 1/2 months.

But after the Broncos lost their best inside pass rusher in Dre'Mont Jones, who signed as a free agent in March with Seattle, followed by Eyioma Uwazurike's minimum full-season suspension for betting on NFL games, the Broncos could use a little heat from the middle of their defensive line. Uwazurike was a fourth-round rookie last year who has pass-rush skills.

The Broncos gave some top defensive tackle reps Friday to undrafted rookie P.J. Mustipher and Elijah Garcia, an undrafted rookie last year, so the team is searching for interior defensive line depth.  

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