James Harrison is willing to work with the Steelers to lower his salary cap number, but he’s not willing to take a pay cut just to stay with the team that drafted him and developed him.
Harrison’s agent, Bill Parise, told John Harris of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he still thought his client was “a bargain” (although what else would he say).
Of course, the Steelers could make a decision on the 34-year-old outside linebacker independent of Harrison’s wishes also.
“Could it happen? It certainly could. The NFL can cut any player at any time,” Parise said. “Having said that, if James Harrison was released, there would be 31 NFL teams interested in him.
“Can we help the Steelers by restructuring James’ contract? We’re certainly willing to do that. Do we need to take less money? I don’t think so. Personally, I think he’s a bargain.”
Bargain might be a stretch, after he logged six sacks in 13 games last season, is due $6.57 million this year and $7.57 million next year, and is coming off two years worth of knee and back problems.
But unlike when Harrison replaced Joey Porter (who replaced Jason Gildon, who replaced Kevin Greene), the Steelers don’t seem to have a replacement in the pipeline, as neither Jason Worilds (five sacks) or Chris Carter (none) have given much evidence they’re ready to take over.
“I don’t think anybody would argue at the end of the season that James Harrison was the best linebacker the Steelers had,” Parise said.
There might be an argument, and the Steelers might be the ones making it. Institutionally, they’ve been willing to let their own guys go too soon rather than too late, and Harrison’s age, injury record and salary are all working against him.