Harrison rejected 30-percent pay cut, opportunity to earn it back


The Steelers opted to move on from veteran linebacker James Harrison on Saturday after talks aimed at reducing his 2013 cap number reached impasse.

Per a league source, the Steelers offered a reduction of roughly 30 percent in Harrison’s base salary of $6.57 million, with an opportunity to earn the money back via incentives.  (The specific terms of the incentives aren’t known.)

Harrison balked, confident he’ll get more money elsewhere.

But will he?  Aging pass rushers are plentiful this year, from John Abraham to Dwight Freeney to Osi Umenyiora to, potentially, Elvis Dumervil.

The current thinking is that Harrison made the decision without his agent gauging the market elsewhere.  Which means that Harrison could be in for a rude awakening, soon.

72 responses to “Harrison rejected 30-percent pay cut, opportunity to earn it back

  1. Harrison joins the club of over-the-hill veterans under the delusion they should be paid for past performance. Doesn’t work that way.

  2. Hey as a die hard steelers fan I am glad he is gone loved his style of play but u have to realize age is a factor and injuries if he didn’t want to take a pay cut oh well see u later

  3. Harrison looks like an idiot anyway, say 30% pay cut is about $4.5, and say he could have realistically earned 10% of that money back through with whatever reachable incentive that wil take him over $5m. Well he may be in for a rude awakening. Someone may sign him, but i doubt if he will get $6.57.

  4. So what were the incentives? A couple grand and bottle of Advil every time he rammed the crown of his head into another player’s helmet?

  5. I’m not as concerned as most. This is the Steelers way and it’s been successful. Last year they played a number of games on defense without Harrison, Troy, Ike Taylor, etc. and still almost made the playoffs. The Steelers will be competitive…next man up!

  6. I’d almost bet that Harrison made the decision without gauging the market. He has a history of knee-jerking without thinking things through. James will be 35 when the season starts, has had significant back injuries, and has a history of disciplinary issues with the league. It’s difficult to imagine that any team would want to take a chance on him at all, certainly not at the pay level he expects. Perhaps when he realizes his limited options he’ll get another opportunity to work out something with the Steelers. He has another good year left, and we need his veteran presence on the team.

  7. This is music to my ears. The guy is a jerk, formerly played on the team I hate the most which are rooted for by the most arrogant fans in the world. I can’t wait to watch them implode. I know a ton of people will agree.

  8. @erfoster: You’re a bad fan then.

    Pittsburgh had the #1 defense AGAIN in 2012 without Harrison or Polamalu. At this point, it’s fair to say that it’s the scheme.

    Despite a ravaged o-line, the offense was fine last year when Roethlisberger was healthy. PGH was 6-3 going into Week 11, then Roethlisberger went down, and that was all she wrote. They were otherwise positioned fine for a postseason run.

    This is literally the story of the 2012 season, and not much has changed since then roster-wise.

  9. “as a life long steeler fan i have a very bad feeling about the next couple years.”

    As a lifelong Browns fan, the above statement brings me great joy.

  10. This is the first of many cap problems these dudes are going to have. Maybe their rule is FINALLY at an end in the AFC North. Sure hope so. I agree with steelerfansblow as to the arrogance of their fans. The rest of the AFC North owes these dudes BIG TIME and I hope payback time is around the corner!

  11. “Opportunity to EARN it back.”

    I was going to come up with a “oh, he must be an Obama supporter” joke (being that the reason he was voted in was because people don’t like working and would rather like the proverbial “handout”)

    However, I do remember James snubbing Obama in 2009 by not attending the White House.

    So this comment is a wash.

  12. He will be missed. When healthy he is a game changer.

    He will always be remembered for one of the greatest SB plays ever.

    Goodell ruined his playing style with his BS penalties.

    If he were a ratbird those delusional fans would be crying for another statue. Now they want a row of them.

  13. wryly1 says: Mar 9, 2013 2:55 PM

    Harrison joins the club of over-the-hill veterans under the delusion they should be paid for past performance. Doesn’t work that way.
    Actually he thinks he should be paid because him and Pittsburgh sat down and happily signed off on a contract (you know a contract is a contract) now Pittsburgh is trying to force a renegotiation of the terms favorable to them.
    When Chris Johnson or Maurice Jones Drew or Osi U. tried to do this you guys torched them….absolutely crucified them for trying ti get a more favorable contract in the middle of a contract. Oh the hypocrisy is running thick these days.
    Now in my opinion Harrison probably should have accepted the offer. It all comes down to making sound business decisions and at this point I’m not sure another team would offer him more than what the Steelers are offering. Harrison isn’t negotiating from a position of strength. The Steelers are.

  14. As much as I like Harrison, with the possibility of making the same money (with making his incentives) how can the Steelers in good Conscience pay a 34 yr old if he doesn’t have confidence in himself?
    I guess all the bulls••• that he wanted to stay in Pittsburgh was just that bulls•••!
    Best of luck dude, it’s a cold world out there!

  15. wryly1 says:
    Mar 9, 2013 2:55 PM
    Harrison joins the club of over-the-hill veterans under the delusion they should be paid for past performance. Doesn’t work that way.

    Really?……, worked that way for Peyton Manning….and Manning still managed to screw the Broncos season with another pick to end their season…..Pay the man…..

  16. Harrison – poster boy for stupid. Just enough brain cells to follow simple, football coach instructions.
    James has more money than brain cells. Pathetic.

  17. blutri10 says:
    Mar 9, 2013 3:23 PM
    “Opportunity to EARN it back.”

    I was going to come up with a “oh, he must be an Obama supporter” joke (being that the reason he was voted in was because people don’t like working and would rather like the proverbial “handout”)

    However, I do remember James snubbing Obama in 2009 by not attending the White House.

    So this comment is a wash.

    Buttri10,…..get over son, the election is over and the people spoke quite loudly…..You should really abandon that Republican/Tea Party gang of idiots……With your ignorant, outdated ideology you’ll be lucky to ever win another election…..

  18. Must be so sad that ravenator takes time out of his day of cleaning his room in his moms basement to comment on steeler posts….get a life loser…

  19. The funniest post was from the browns fan, as bad or mediocre the Steelers may become over the next few years, well the browns are just clowns and will always suck.

    I’d like the steelers to part with Troy as well. All for the same reasons they released Silverback. Old, injured and plays half a season and makes too much money.

  20. He will be 35yrs old before 2013 season begins…up to 2 yrs max left and he should’ve taken 30% cut to stay with Steelers…Age and stubbordness is his downfall, bad move by Harrison and may regret it later.

  21. This is a bit of a gamble on Harrison’s part, but I think he’ll probably come out of this with more money. Some team will probably give him something like a 3 year contract at about 17 to 20 million with a 4 to 5 million dollar signing bonus. The first year money will be close to what the max was he could have earned with the steelers and if he has a good season, he’ll be highly likely to not get whacked a year from now.

    Worst case, Harrison earns 3.5 to 4 million this year. On the low end, he comes out making a million less. On the high end, he could easily make 4 or 5 million more. Probably a gamble worth taking.

  22. This along with Ray Lewis and Ed Reed going out of the picture for the Ravens, opens an unprecedented opportunity we haven’t seen since the AFC Central Division. If the Browns, and the Bengals can’t take advantage of the opportunity in front of them right now, then I feel pretty comfortable saying they will never be a top the AFC North ahead of the Ravens and the Steelers, because the two organizations aren’t capable of competing consistently, and they are not capable of sustaining any kind of success within the division. They both will have “fluke” years where they may make the playoffs and do good, but that will be all the fans of both teams will be able to bank on.

  23. Harrison, Wallace, Mendenhall, Hampton, and Polamalu are all expendable. Big Ben is the only player the Steelers have shown they can’t do without.

  24. Spankygreen — How does my paycheck in your bank account feel? Must be nice not to work and just sit in your parents basement all day and patrol the internet for hardworking Americans.

    Get a life, punk.

  25. Harrison had a great run in Pittsburgh, You can’t help but think the fines caught up with his will to make the plays.

  26. I don’t blame him for trying to get his last contract of his career. We all would do the same thing. He will get multiple years and more guaranteed money so its a no brainer. Lets say he is old and washed up like the steelers fans believe. He gets one more guaranteed contract that will be around the money he didn’t get from PITT and he walks away from the NFL. He will get a 3 year 15 million deal with at least 6 million guaranteed so how is he dumb for leaving. If my math is right 6 million is more than 4.5 million.

    As a Giant fan I would have been pissed if we did this to Strahan. By the way Strahan sat out the last year of career for a bump in pay and we gave it to him we didn’t cut him. Oh and we beat the 18-0 patriots in the Super Bowl that year and he won his SB RING and walked off like your boy Jerome Bettis. Imagine if he goes to the ravens or browns and has a 12 sack season. We will hear you steeler fans crying “NEXT UP”

  27. “I’d like the steelers to part with Troy as well. All for the same reasons they released Silverback. Old, injured and plays half a season and makes too much money.”

    same could be said about Roethlessberger.

  28. This means the Steelers will be around 113-114 million to the cap and now I would say they can be players in FA a little more. Dont worry Steeler fans The Rooneys and Colbert have been here b4, we will survive.

  29. Harrison was a good player in his prime, but even as a fan, I cringed when he lowered his helmet to try to injure other players. He has long been a hot-head and can’t see that he is much slower and much easier to block than previously. He should have taken what looks like a generous, face-saving deal from the Steelers.

    Harrison will soon discover what the rest of us already know: no team is willing to pay him starter money.

  30. He probably balked as the incentives are the unlikely to be earned type. Ungodly, madden like numbers.

    Steelers are/were looking to free up cap space. If the incentives are/were easy to earn back, the Steelers would be right back in the same situation again.

    He probably knew that the Steelers were going to cut him next year anyways. 7+million for 36 y/o lb is too much.

    So all he needs is some contract that gives him at least 6.57 million guaranteed and he broke even.

  31. Only if they made brain deer spray, Harrison would have thought his decision through?

  32. ravenator says:
    Mar 9, 2013 3:36 PM
    Ravens > Steelers
    You shutup too! You have the highest paid player in NFL history and he’s never been to the Pro Bowl. LOL, good luck with that in future years when it comes time to crunch the numbers. Boldin is only the start. It’s all downhill from here for the Ravens.

  33. james harrison is the least of my worries. idc if the steelers dont win the division i mean itd be nice and im rootin for them but theyre rebuilding so guys let ravenator talk now cuz in a couple years da stillers will be nack with fiery vengeance. just fix that damn running game. i mean yikes.

  34. Sorry to see him go. He embodied the Steeler spirit like no other modern player. Hope they will cut the fat ass Woodley next. That would free up cap space and get a lazy bum off the team.

  35. the players get a raw deal in the court of public perception. The teams have nothing to lose by not honoring contracts

  36. Harrison never struck me as the brightest guy. He always was mad at someone whether it was the commissioner, the president or some browns fan. He is an emotional player who has made an emotionally charged decision. He will now pay the consequences for that decision.

  37. Number one, I’m no Steelers fan (Go Bengals), BUT the fact that so many people seem to bash players when fighting to get out of contract agreements (Commentators too), that it is sickening to hear no support for a player that merely wants ownership to HONOR THEIR PART OF THE CONTRACT. This man should not ever been coerced into taking once cent less than the original agreement. This is a very ugly part of the NFL {Note: You won’t hear Goodell take any stand on this issue, nor the Players Union, either}

  38. Truth is Harrison was very smart with his money. He has donated 100’s of thousands to local high schools and foundations…. And yes Goodell, but..He did make 75mil before being cut.

    He was a proud Steeler and we will love him for his 3 trips to Superbowls, one more than Antler spray Ray.

    Dumb move on his part, but now we sign Keenan Lewis, and remain 1 in pass d, in a pass league.

    O line looks strong, have no fear… Front office smart again.

    100 td pik 6 SB XVIII… Peace out!

  39. Where is Harrison gona get a 3year 15m contract? That’s REDICULOUS..and where will he be a Starter in a 3-4 defense.. other then Pittsburgh? I love Debo but his agent is doin him no justice.. 30% was a doable..with incentives he’d only miss his mark by 1m or so. Real Disappointed

  40. A ‘contract’ in the NFL seems to be a lopsided agreement to me. Setting aside for a minute whether a player is over-the-hill or worth x amount, nothing seems to work in favor of the player. From the owners’ side, they can just terminate a contract by cutting a player for pretty much any reason they see fit. If he under-performs, or has a propensity to get injured, or even if the team mismanages their spending, they can cut him at will. On the other hand, if a player exceeds expectations, he can’t make the team pay him more, he can’t terminate and go somewhere else, and if a team has cap money unspent he can’t make them use it. The players risk their health, the owners risk nothing…not even financially. They are a monopoly without anything more than token competition, they make rules to prevent a city from owning a team, impose a draft so that players have no leverage to enjoy a free market, and scalp every fan with absurd stadium deals and concession prices. The whole business seems incredibly one-sided.

  41. If I were running an NFL franchise that needed to slash payroll, the last guy I’d look up would be a six-year starter and five-time All-Pro linebacker ho was making a mere $6 million per season.
    I’d go straight to the team’s highest paid player who averages 23 TD passes and three missed games per season while being paid $800,000 per game.
    Double-standards in football has ruined a good many teams.

  42. I just love it….

    1.) Hip hip… for the Steelers management stcking ot the formula of being “marketplace competitive” and making an equally competitive offer to an accomplished veteran that has some question marks related to his future ability to contribute at the higher level which justified his contract to begin with.

    2.) Hooray !… for the cyclical coming out of the pinheads that write off the Steelers… we just love being the underdogs… and you’d think thats something the pinheads would have come to realize by now…

    Oh yes… I can already see the Steelers chalking up the wins in the AFC North and already read all the caustic remarks and all the BS from the haters on this site.

    Have a great spring y’all!

  43. It’s good that they let home go he was to old and we need to get younger they’ll be fine they had the best D in the league without their stars on D if they can barkevious mingo in they will be fine and for all people calling is steelers fans arrogant plz u all just want to hate on us cause we have a great franchise dedicated to winning everybody want to just hate on the best

  44. Funny how Steelers fans say James is Washd up..old and over paid & their happy to see James go all if a sudden if he would have taken that cut y’all would Be sayin he’s a beast..but #43 hasent been close to his old self since 2008..How old is he?Whers his pay cut? If Troy chose to do the same thing next season y’all would be ready to jump off the ledge. And how many games has he miss in the last 3 years? With CALF and HAMSTRINGS injuries? Those not even football related. I do agree Harrison should have took that 30% but I think that was more his agents stupidity. He already had 3strikes AGE ( even though his age dosent match his playing time )..INJURIES..AND THAT 3-4 DEFENSE.

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