According to John Harris of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison is willing to restructure his contract, but he is not interested in taking a pay cut.
Harrison, who is scheduled to earn a $6.57 million base salary, and count $10.035 million against the cap next season, is under contract through the 2014 season and his agent Bill Parise still considers the soon-to-be 35 year-old linebacker a bargain for the Steelers at that rate.
"Can we help the Steelers by restructuring James\' contract? We\'re certainly willing to do that, Parise told the paper. "Do we need to take less money? I don\'t think so. Personally, I think he\'s a bargain."
If the Steelers were to do a simple restructure and turn $5.57 million of the $6.57 million base salary that Harrison is scheduled to earn in 2013 into a signing bonus, it would only lower his cap number by $2.785 million in 2013 if another year wasn\'t added onto the contract. Doing that would also increase potential dead money in 2014 by $2.785 million more.
Terminating the contract of Harrison outright would clear $5.105 million in cap space in 2013 with no repercussions of dead money in 2014.
You can certainly see the dilemma that the Steelers are now faced with and it is one that I predicted could happen dating back to last May. They simply can\'t keep Harrison at his current base salary and a simple restructure really is not worth the savings it would create in my opinion. The cap is expected to remain flat in 2014 and throwing $2.785 million in additional dead money in that year would be foolish.
The only way that I saw Harrison potentially staying in 2013 would be if he agreed to a base salary cut of $3 million or more, but it appears that Parise and Harrison are not interested in that option.
“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.
While the above quote might certainly be true, betting that Harrison has another 10 sack, 16 game season in him is very risky. He has missed 8 games the last two seasons due to injuries and the Steelers just can\'t take that chance.
The Steelers need to be cap compliant in less than a month, and unless Harrison and Parise change their tune, it appears that a divorce is unavoidable right now.