While James Harrison was hoping that a return to the Pittsburgh Steelers might be in the cards from him despite being released, the team seems intent on going different, especially younger and cheaper at the outside linebacker position, hoping that someone from within rises to the production level they were used to see from Harrison.
It hasn’t been a very eventful free agency period for Harrison, getting hardly any interest from teams around the league. Maybe his age (34), his strong personality, controversial at times, and the fact that he’s probably asking for a bit more money than anyone’s willing to give him is helping him remain unemployed. Harrison was due to make $6.6 million in 2013 before being cut by the Steelers.
The Baltimore Ravens was his only scheduled visit, but the AFC North rivals decided to go with a better option, signing Elvis Dumervil after the Denver Broncos fax-fiasco, leaving Harrison, once again, waiting for someone to pick up the phone. As is seemed part of the Ravens’ plans is similar to what the Steelers are doing – getting younger and cheaper while letting go of vocal locker room leaders, Harrison wouldn’t have made the team anyway.
What now for Harrison? There’s still a month from the draft, as teams are almost done filling their bigger, more expensive needs for next season. Someone like Harrison can still contribute (six sacks in 13 games last season), but missing eight games over the last couple of years and clearly showing signs of slowing down are going to force Harrison to aggressively push down his asking price, hoping someone is willing to pick him up for a one-year contract on nothing more than $2.5-3 million a season, which also sounds like a stretch giving the market a quick survey.