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For Chris Harris Jr., the dollars still make sense

6h

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Folks keep asking Denver Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. about his decision to re-sign with the team this past December rather than hit the open market for an even bigger contract somewhere else when free agency opened in March.

And Harris re-affirmed Monday he understands, but he also intends to keep telling folks he is more than happy with the decision he made.

"Everybody knows if I would have hit the market I wouldn't have been here," Harris said Monday after the Broncos' conditioning work at their suburban Denver complex. "That's the best thing of signing early is staying here with the Broncos where I wanted to stay."

Harris, who was scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent following the season, signed a five-year, $42.5 million deal in December to stay with the Broncos. Harris received a $10 million signing bonus -- half when he signed the deal and the other half last month -- and in all, the contract includes $24 million in guaranteed money.

At the time, he said he wanted to keep his family in Denver and stay with the Broncos. And the Broncos, who eventually let other four starters walk in free agency, including Julius Thomas and Orlando Franklin, want to make sure Harris was a priority.

But in the months that followed, with the salary cap having gone to over $142 million per team, Darrelle Revis signed a five-year, $70.1 million deal with the New York Jets that included $39 million in guaranteed money. And Byron Maxwell, with all of 17 career starts, signed a six-year, $63 million deal with the Philadelphia Eagles that includes $25.5 million in guaranteed money

Harris, who played in his first Pro Bowl following the 2014 season, is among the league's elite at the position. During the '14 season, former Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey said at the time that "nobody is playing better than him," after watching Harris play.

So, Harris understands all of the money matters and how much it seems to matter to some.

"I'm happy with it," Harris said Monday. "I mean people kept messaging me 'ah man if you would have hit the market' or whatever. I just try to forget about that and be focused on this team this year."

And on the Broncos' secondary, which sent three players to the Pro Bowl last season (Harris, Aqib Talib and T.J. Ward), Harris said: "The sky's the limit. Week in, week out we could the best. We have a lot of talent."