Chris Harris says he was deciding between Eagles and Saints before Chargers 'popped up out of nowhere'
In one of the most surprising moves of free agency, Chris Harris to the Los Angeles Chargers seemed to come out of nowhere. According to Harris, that’s exactly how his signing with the Chargers came to be.
Harris was fielding offers from the Philadelphia Eagles, New Orleans Saints and Las Vegas Raiders before the Chargers entered the market and were able to land him. How were the Chargers able to pull off the stunning upset?
“They kind of came out of nowhere at the end,” Harris said on the Rap Sheet + Friends podcast hosted by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. “It was kinda winding down to the Saints or the Eagles, and then (the Chargers) kinda popped up out of nowhere, and I felt that would be an even better fit for me.”
“It was where I was going to fit in within their defense and how they were going to use me. It was finding the perfect fit for us and where we can go out and excel. Going back with my coach, my first coach in the NFL, (Chargers defensive backs coach) Ron Milus, was going to help me out for the rest of my career.”
Milus was the defensive backs coach of the Denver Broncos in 2011 and 2012, Harris’s first two seasons in the NFL. Harris emerged as one of the best slot cornerbacks in the game under Milus’s tutelage, compiling 132 tackles, four interceptions, 15 passes defensed, and two defensive touchdowns in the two seasons Milus was his coach.
The Raiders were in pursuit of Harris from the start of free agency, but they made it clear to Harris he would be playing the outside. That caused Harris to reconsider Las Vegas.
“They definitely got in the mix,” Harris said. “Me, it was just, the fit with the Raiders, they already had a nickel (cornerback) in LaMarcus Joyner and they made it clear to me they wanted to keep him in there. It was based off, really, just fit and knowing where I’m going to play.”
The Eagles being in the mix for Harris wasn’t a surprise, considering their needs at cornerback entering free agency. Philadelphia traded a third- and fifth-round pick for Darius Slay after Harris decided to join Los Angeles. Who knows if the Eagles wanted to pair Harris with Slay, or if they would have pursued Slay if they were able to sign Harris?
The Chargers have gone through an interesting offseason so far, signing tackle Bryan Bulaga and trading for guard Trai Turner to shore up the offensive line. The re-signed Austin Ekeler and placed the franchise tag on Hunter Henry. Harris and defensive tackle Linval Joseph were the main additions on defense.
Even though the Chargers have been active in free agency, they plan on going into the season with Tyrod Taylor as their starting quarterback after striking out on Tom Brady. Harris is fine if the Chargers stick with Taylor or add legitimate competition for him in the coming weeks.
“I don’t think Tyrod has ever got a real chance to be a starting quarterback,” Harris said. “When he was in Buffalo, they didn’t have the weapons around him like they do here (in Los Angeles). I think he can definitely make some plays. He’s mobile, he’s smart.
“If they want to bring in someone else, I understand. Competition makes everyone better.”