Nose tackle Shelby Harris followed his 5 1/2 sacks in 2017 with a career-best 39 tackles a season ago, and the Broncos rewarded him with a second-round restricted free agent contract tender, which raised his salary from $705,000 to $3.095 million (a 227-percent raise). Harris is looking for a long-term contract, Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post reports.
“That’s every man’s dream,” Harris said after an organized team activity workout this week. “I would love a multi-year deal here, but the way that works, you have to focus on this year, go out and play.”
What works in Harris’ favor is that he figures to play more this year. He played 390 of 1,077 snaps in 2018, but starting nose tackle Domata Peko (522 snaps) was not re-signed. Harris worked with the first-team defense during Monday’s OTA.
In a reserve role, Harris posted numbers that should invite optimism. Per The Denver Post’s game charting, he had 1 1/2 sacks and 10 1/2 disruptions (pressures/knockdowns/sacks), fourth-most on the Broncos. Against the run, he had 12 1/2 “stuffs” (gain of three or fewer yards), fifth-most. And his end zone interception sealed the Week 12 win over Pittsburgh.
Harris said coach Vic Fangio’s defense calls for one- and two-gap responsibilities for the nose tackle, which will require equal parts patience, power and aggressiveness depending on the call.
“He’ll use the nose all over,” Harris said of Fangio. “You have to be able to move, hold down the middle and also pass rush a little bit.”
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