With the Steelers officially severing ties with linebacker James Harrison, the speed with which he lands elsewhere will say plenty about the negotiations that led to his exit from Pittsburgh.
Unwilling to do a simple restructuring that would have paid Harrison the full amount of his $6.57 million base salary in a way that would have deferred much of the cap charge, the Steelers wanted him to take less. How much less isn’t currently known.
What could soon be known is whether Harrison’s agent shopped the Steelers’ best offer elsewhere before telling the Steelers to take their reduced offer and shove it. Many agents in those circumstances will “gauge the market,” discreetly finding out what’s behind Door No. 2 before having to choose it blindly.
It’s tampering for other teams to answer the question. It’s not a violation for the agent to inquire.
Of course, some players don’t care whether the reduced offer from their current teams are greater than what someone else would offer. As a matter of principle, they won’t take less than the money to which they believe they’re entitled.
The speed with which Harrison signs a new contract will shed light on whether, before telling the Steelers to get lost, Harrison’s agent found out what else would be out there.