Chiefs tight end Demetrius Harris might have signed his three-year extension with the Chiefs just a few days after his first career NFL touchdown — an impressive leaping, high-point catch — but don’t think the play necessarily led to the extension.
According to Harris, talks between the sides had been going on for a while.
“We’ve been going through this for three weeks,” Harris said after the Chiefs’ 30-0 wild-card win over the Houston Texans on Saturday. “I’ve just been trying to play, instead of worrying about the money part.”
Mission accomplished. Harris, who had a cap number of $510,000 in 2015, will now earn base salaries of $600,000 in 2016, $1 million in 2017 and $1.75 million in 2018.
Harris was scheduled to become an exclusive right free agent this offseason, which is a designation given to players with two or less accrued seasons. If an exclusive rights free agent does not sign the one-year, non-guaranteed contract for the league minum that the team tenders him for the upcoming season, his only other option is not playing that season.
Thus, the deal allows the Chiefs to secure Harris’ services for a little while longer, while lining Harris’ pockets with a little more money.
“I was happy for the kid,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “He’s a good football player, and he’s going to do nothing but get better. Every year, he’s made improvements, going to continue to do that. Loves to play. Been a good addition.”
The 6-foot-7, 230-pounder, who has seven catches for 74 yards this season, caught his 15-yard touchdown in the regular-season finale, a 23-17 win over the Oakland Raiders. It was just the latest step in his quest to become the latest former college basketball player-turned-tight end, like Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates and Jordan Cameron.
“It’s just blessings on top of blessing all through this whole journey,” Harris said. “Just starting from the bottom ... learning the stuff easily and staying confident with it, that was the biggest key of the transition.”
Prior to joining the Chiefs as an undrafted free agent in 2013, Harris, 24, played basketball at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and had not played football since high school.
Harris signed with the Chiefs as an undrafted free agent in 2013, and set out to play football again for the first time since high school. He spent a year on the practice squad before appearing in eight games last year, primarily as a blocker, before a foot injury ended his season.
Harris rehabbed and returned to action this year, and has served in a backup role behind starter Travis Kelce. Now it appears he’ll be here for a little while longer, as the extension spans three years and is worth $6.3 million.
“It means three more years of going for the Super Bowl,” Harris said.