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Broncos' Chris Harris demands new contract or trade

Chris Harris' standoff with the Denver Broncos is coming to a head.

The cornerback, who has been absent from the team since the start of voluntary minicamp last week, has requested either a new contract from the Broncos or a trade out of town, NFL Network's James Palmer reported Tuesday evening. ESPN first reported the news.

Harris wants at least $15 million per year on a new deal, Palmer added. Such a contract would make Harris the highest-paid cornerback in AAV in the league; Redskins cornerback Josh Norman is the leader in 2019 at $15 million a year.

The 29-year-old Harris is entering the final season of his contract and is set to earn $7.8 million in base salary. His average salary of $8.5 million from his last deal is well below the current market value for a player of his caliber, ranking 24th among active corners. Coming off his fourth Pro Bowl, Harris wants to correct that skewed number.

That doesn't mean the Broncos will so easily acquiesce.

Asked about the possibility of extending Harris earlier on Tuesday, Broncos general manager John Elway said that the team would talk about it after the draft. "We'll talk about it," Elway told reporters, per Palmer. "Doesn't mean we'll do it."

Elway's dismissive comments on Tuesday reportedly "escalated" tensions between Harris and the organization, Palmer reported, and led to the corner's new demands.

Harris spoke to The Athletic's Nicki Jhabvala on Wednesday to discuss his standoff with the Broncos.

"I always wanted to retire here," Harris said. "I've been patient. I'm still open to coming back. I'm never closing that door until they close it."

Harris added: "We could still get a deal done with the Broncos. ... Oh yeah. It's not over yet."

After losing Aqib Talib and Bradley Roby in successive seasons, the Broncos can ill afford to lose another stalwart like Harris in the secondary.

But if Harris' contract demands remain this stiff leading up to and after the draft, then Denver might not be able to afford to keep him either.

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