Keenan Allen and Chris Harris Jr. often have clashed when sharing the same football field.
Through the magic of free agency, the two now will have to coexist in the same locker room.
The Chargers agreed to terms Wednesday with the accomplished ex-Denver Broncos slot cornerback, an All-Pro in 2016 and Pro Bowler four times.
They also added defensive tackle Linval Joseph, formerly of the Minnesota Vikings and a two-time Pro Bowler.
Both deals are for two years, Harris’ at about $20 million and Joseph’s at $19 million, including incentives.
Allen immediately endorsed both moves on social media, making a note to welcome Harris and refer to him as “brother.”
That was quite a different tone from the one Allen used last season when, after a four-catch, 18-yard game against Harris, he noticed an abundance of fan trash talk about him on the internet.
“Now, y’all know damn well that boy can’t hold my jockstrap,” Allen posted in response. “Stop it.”
Asked at the time by reporters in Denver about Allen’s opinions of him, Harris noted how often he’d “locked” the Chargers’ top wideout over their careers.
“I don’t even know how many times I’ve shut him down,” Harris said. “There’s nothing to really talk about with him.”
All this banter will no doubt be revisited when Harris officially joins the Chargers.
He will bring another top-level defender to a secondary that includes cornerback Casey Hayward, who has made two Pro Bowls, and safety Derwin James, an All-Pro as a rookie in 2018.
Harris, 30, has 20 interceptions and 518 combined tackles in a career that began when he signed with Denver as an undrafted free agent in 2011. He spent nine years with the Broncos.
Desmond King has been the Chargers’ primary slot corner but struggled last season after being named an All-Pro in 2018. It remains unclear how the addition of Harris will impact King’s situation.
Joseph fills the spot vacated last week when the Chargers released Brandon Mebane in a move to free salary-cap space.
A 10-year veteran, Joseph, 31, spent his first four seasons with the New York Giants and the past six with the Vikings. He has started at least 12 games every year since 2011 and has appeared in 141 games for his career. A second-round pick of the Giants in 2010, he was named to the Pro Bowl in 2016 and 2017.
Earlier in free agency, the Chargers agreed to terms with right tackle Bryan Bulaga in a move to help rebuild an offensive line that was inconsistent in 2019.
General manager Tom Telesco also traded with Carolina for right guard Trai Turner, an acquisition that became official Wednesday with the new league year beginning. Telesco dealt away left tackle Russell Okung for Turner and still could be looking to add a veteran to fill that spot.
“It’s kind of like a fresh start,” Turner said. “New teammates. New coaches. New city. I’m looking at it as kind of a rejuvenation of my football career… I’m coming to a great organization with a great coach. I’m just excited about it.”
Turner, who described his game as “hard-nosed,” said he anticipates remaining at right guard as the Chargers search for their top five across the offensive front.
The first three days of the free-agent negotiating period were productive ones as the Chargers attempt to rebound from a 5-11 season. They made a bid for Tom Brady but were unable to lure him to the West Coast, the six-time Super Bowl champion quarterback agreeing to become a Tampa Bay Buccaneer.
Instead, the Chargers are expected to move forward with veteran Tyrod Taylor as the immediate successor to Philip Rivers.
With the sixth overall pick in a draft still scheduled for April, they will be looking into a quarterback group that includes Tua Tagovailoa of Alabama, Justin Herbert of Oregon and Jordan Love of Utah State.
Louisiana State’s Joe Burrow, generally regarded as the top prospect at the position, is forecast to go No. 1 to Cincinnati.