James Harrison won’t take pay cut to stay with Steelers


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.

78 responses to “James Harrison won’t take pay cut to stay with Steelers

  1. Not what I wanted to hear. Wanted him to take a pay cut and become more of a situational player. I just feel like once a player has had at least 1 big contract and they are nearing the end, they should be willing to take a pay cut. Why not? You’re rich anyway

  2. All good things come to a end! No player on that roster is above the Steelers brand! See ya James..its been nice!

  3. He was a great player in his prime, but he has gotten much slower and no longer merits the salary. Time to get younger and faster with the rush.

  4. The Steelers have been willing to cut guys sooner rather than later because keeping the Dynasty players too long out of loyalty crippled us in the 80s. The Steelers learned that lesson the hard way. Although for some inexplicable reason, Joey still holds a special place for me, I love James and would like to see him stay a while longer. It helps that, as you pointed out, there’s no comparable talent ready to replace him. But he may have to be a little more flexible. And Parise will probably find the market isn’t quite as good for 34-year-old linebackers as he hopes.

  5. So much for the home-town discount, Steeler fans. Pittsburgh and Baltimore are going to have to used to tearful goodbyes, starting this year.

    Couldn’t have happened to a nicer bunch of folks…

  6. I’m of the opinion that either James will take a pay cut or we’ll see Jason Worldis lining up on the right side in Pittsburgh this year. Harrison is still a beast when he’s healthy; however, health is fleeting once you hit his age and have taken the abuse.

    Remeber also that this is his agent talking and you’ve heard nothing from James himself.

    There is definitely a roster turnover occuring in Pittsburgh. The offense will basically do a complete turnover this year and the defense isn’t far behind.


  7. Bye bye James! Good news for steeler fans is this should help reduce all these illegal hits theyre flagged for. Cheers!

  8. “…just to stay with the team that drafted him and developed him.”

    When the first sentence contains obvious factual errors, there’s no need to continue reading.

    Appalachian State school of journalism, at it’s finest.

  9. jarvis, do you live in narnia or utopia? did peyton take a cut after leaving colts? no. there are countless examples of players not taking pay cuts and getting another big contract

  10. Wow, can’t believe the statement that the Steelers drafted Harrison made it through the PFT filters. Slackin’, boys.

    Harrison can come play for the eagles in our new scheme if he wants!

  11. I think James just made the Steelers answer an easy one. The Steelers could save 5 million by cutting James or overpay someone who hasnt been at the elite level in years. The Steelers need playmakers and with him they didnt make a lot of splash plays. James will surely be missed and I hope he gets the money he is looking for elsewhere…

  12. if James Harrison was released, there would be 31 NFL teams interested in him.——————–doubt that , 34 years old and baggage?

  13. He was not drafted by the Steelers, and he spent a stint with the Baltimore Ravens earlier in his career in 2004 before the Steelers signing him back. Come on., know what you’re talking about.

  14. I think the agent is overstating it to say 31 teams would be interested. It might be a stretch to say half the teams would be interested in a 34 year old with possible injury issues. And, I don’t know if any of them are interested at $6.5 million.

  15. Hes pretty Hines Wardish….. I mean washed up. Hes going to take a pay cut somewhere it might as well be a place where they dont care how many games a year he get suspended. But i can see why he cant afford to take a pay cut considering he doeant want to learn how to hit properly.

  16. “Great, I could see the Browns doing something dumb like bringing this guy in the play under Horton.”
    “Now playing Sam lb for the Cleveland browns, wearing #92, James Harrison!”

    Noooooooooooo!!! Please no!

  17. Steelers should rebuild. 3 years of going downhill Ravens core group will be intact no matter what and easily win division. Steelers should just start over and build Round Ben and overpayed brown

  18. @Deb
    Have not been on here in a while. I agree with you that was a big problem for us in the 80’s.
    I’m afraid that with our cap problem we may see James, Wallace, and more players that I would hate to see gone. One thing though the Steelers organization always seems to do the right thing.

  19. I love Harrison, always have, but did anyone notice how he cost Pittsburgh the Titans game? I know he was barely back from the knee and back injuries and was getting back into form, but the Titans knew Jared Cook could abuse him and after the stupid decision to try a long field goal, Cook beat Harrison like he was standing still to get the final yards that got them in position to win the game with a FG. He’s getting older and this will be a constant theme going forward. Did any Steelers fan at any point this year notice Harrison’s name being called for great plays or because he was dominating games? Nope. See ya James – we’ll always love you but you’re not above the team.

  20. @Darrin Gant: “neither Jason Worilds (five sacks) or Chris Carter (none) have given much evidence they’re ready to take over”


    Worilds got 5 sacks despite a significant wrist injury, and contributed to the #1 defense in the league (yards allowed). Reporters who follow the Steelers were acceding that he is ready for the job by the end of the year.

    However, Harrison improved significantly as the season wore on and as he overcame his knee injury. He may still have another monster year in him, and it may be worth $6 million for the Steelers to find out.

  21. Can you say REBUILD? They might as well unload Bigger Ben while their at it, since he is on the downside of his career, and will not likely lead them to the playoffs again. alomost said to see such a toried franchise on such a quick decline.

  22. Harrison continued to improve as the season went on and he got healthier.

    IMO — He has at least one more season as an elite (cringe) linebacker. 2013 will be a big bounceback for him.

  23. Considering Harrison’s age and recent injury history, he should take whatever the Steelers offer him and pray there’s some guaranteed money in the deal.

    He’s too old to get a big contract basically anywhere.

  24. The steelers wouldn’t have a salary cap issue if they didn’t overpay for mediocre players like Andre Brown and Ben Roethlisberger. Brown has like what, 4 career TDs, and Ben is just an injury prone idiot with a knack for tossing pick 6’s in crunch time.

  25. Steelers fans should be happy, because that pipeline will come either in the Draft or after and nobody drafted Harrison. I personally like to see young hungry guys some vets get paid then are always injured

  26. What people don’t understand it doesn’t matter what his salary is , all that matters is his cap number , he could makes 20 million next year just as long as he has a low cap number I really don’t care , silverback is still a force to be reckoned with , and he will be back in black and yellow next year !

  27. Can someone tell me what this BIG MOUTH JERK will do when he leaves the NFL? What is he qualified to do exactly other than play football and be a tool? He should take whatever they give him and like it.

  28. Tough call, but Steelers need too much other things to spend this sort of money on a player going the other way. However you look at it, Steelers fans need to get themselves prepared for a couple years of rebuilding so that the team structure can be less discombobulated.

  29. @dickroy …

    Good to see you back! Hope we’ll be able to keep Harrison, but it will require flexibility on his part. However, as others have said, this is Parise talking and agents have to appear firm going into negotiations.

    I’m content to let Wallace go. He underperformed last year–probably because he missed all of camp holding out. But his excuse for dropping the ball so often was that he lost focus when we devoted so much of our offense to the running game. That was the last straw for me. A healthy running game got us four Super Bowls back in the day, and I never recall hearing Swan and Stallworth complain they were too bored to catch the ball when it came their way. That kind of attitude is poison. By contrast, just read that Anthony Brown is already training regularly at the Steelers practice facility.

  30. It’s not the age, it’s the mileage. James didn’t become an everydown player till later in his career (co-incidentally, an advantage most steeler players have enjoyed). So, age doesn’t factor in “as much”.

    With that being said, there’d have to be several incentives in that contract, so as not to mortgage the future, but keeping him allows more flexibility to address other positions.

  31. By 1984, with the exception of John Stallworth, Donnie Shell and Mike Webster, most of the Steelers from the 1970s were gone. What crippled the Steelers in the 1980s were bad drafts. Rod Woodson and Louie Lipps were the organization’s only quality No. 1 picks. Beyond those two, pretty bleak…
    Maybe it’s time to ask the highest paid player in franchise history to take a cut in pay.

  32. @bobzilla – “Maybe it’s time to ask the highest paid player in franchise history to take a cut in pay.”


    Ben has consistently re-done his deal to help fit other guys under the cap. You can say a lot about Ben, but the guy hasn’t ever complained about his contract or refused to re-work it to try to stock the roster.

  33. I am not surprised at all. he can’t afford to take a pay cut….how would he be able to pay for all his fines if he did.

  34. Undrafted. Kicked to the curb at least twice. Miraculous DPOY and Super Bowl and now injury plagued in his 30’s. I smell steroids.

  35. I always liked watching him play and I think he can still be a force if he can get healthy. I always thought he got a bum deal with the suspension.

    The steelers always do try to cut someone too early instead of too late. I’m sure he won’t be out of work if they do.

  36. They will restructure his deal to make it work. Amid all the mistakes in this article. One thing stands true. There isn’t anyone there to replace.
    Not on Harrisons level. (healthy) Worilds has shown flashes at times. You have to actually watch the games to see that type of thing though.
    As long as they dont stir up to much this off season. I see next year as pretty promising.

  37. If he goes we won’t have any Pollard type players to be concerned with….

    That’s true, Troy used to hit that hard in his prime, but he gets banged up too easy now so yea I gotta agree.

    You have no one that hits as hard as the bone crusher.

  38. randallflagg52 says: Feb 12, 2013 3:43 PM

    The steelers wouldn’t have a salary cap issue if they didn’t overpay for mediocre players like Andre Brown and Ben Roethlisberger. Brown has like what, 4 career TDs, and Ben is just an injury prone idiot with a knack for tossing pick 6′s in crunch time.
    Who is Andre Brown? If he is any good, we’ll take him 🙂

    Seems as though the Ravens will have some cap casualties as well.

  39. halusbr33: Maybe if Antonio would make more plays people would know his first name. Randallflagg was absolutely correct in his assessment of ben and Antonio nonetheless. MEDIOCRE!

  40. As I’ve previously stated somewhere –

    If I would have been in charge, Mike Wallace would not have seen a single snap during the 2012 season.
    Attitude. I dislike his. He’s not Steeler material.

    In contrast, however, Antonio Brown appears to be the kind of WR the Pittsburgh Steelers love, and rightfully so. Appears to be diligent in his pursuit for perfection along with strong potential for a leadership role within the WR group. The evidence of his talents are on tape.

    I believe Ben Roethlisberger can/will bring home the 7th Lombardi Trophy to Pittsburgh before he retires. All actions taken by Pittsburgh, roster-wise, should focus on such notion. AKA: Not crucial to win Super Bowl next season.

  41. Brown made plenty of plays, he can’t make them all and none of the other receivers were consistent. Ben before he got hurt behind the lousy line was having a great year. The team will be a wild card next year. James will be gone. And ravenator I believe the ravens had way more illegal hits then the steelers.

  42. Good luck with your next team James, and take Polumalu with you your both over the hill and over paid.

  43. They will take a lb in either the 1st or 2nd round of the draft. Or both. If they go ILB, Timmons could bounce outside. He is their best LB. Harrison is done. Arizona always likes our left overs so good luck with that. The DL is young and talented after Hampton is cut. They must re-sign CB Lewis. And draft a safety. Worilds can play but Woodley needs to return to form as an elite pass rusher and stay healthy.

  44. I have such fond memories of the last two years of Harrison and Polamalu being irrelevant. I hate to see them leave or be replaced. I actually think they should bring Whines Hard back.

  45. Personally, I’m not worried about next year.

    So as long as Ben brings home that 7th before retirement, I’d be satisfied.

    Way I see it: 5 highly productive seasons left for Ben, give or take.

    So Pittsburgh has 5 full seasons (+1 -1) to get Ben his 3rd Ring.

  46. andrewprough:
    There’s a huge difference between restructuring a contract and taking a paycut. That’s the entire point of this topic…
    Roethlisberger has not lost a penny of his $110 million contract.

  47. agree with everyone that he should take the cut or goodbye blah blah that already covered anyway ye wen don’t have a replacement lined up but we can draft one i woul say Jarvis Jones but i rather we use our first round pick on Kenny vaccaro and both could go before our pick comes but we can still get a replacement in the second round that can start right away

  48. He posted some random BS on his Facebook.. no clue what it means..probably non football related

  49. Love Harrison but he’s been injured the past couple of years. Same goes for Troy. It made sense to sign them a couple years ago but they aren’t producing at a high level anymore. It would be hard to say goodbye to them but I think it’s time. But let’s also get rid of dead weight like Woodley. He is so overrated it’s not funny. If I’m an opposing offense I’m running to his side every time. He doesn’t set the edge or contain. Let’s end the country club and start demanding excellence again. Get rid of the folks who mail it I’m every week – like Woodley…and Tomlin needs to be on watch too. He gets less out of more than any Steeler coach of recent memory. He is a fraud.

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