Report: Former Steelers LB James Harrison Is The Coldest Name On The Market Right Now

Peter King of Sports Illustrated wrote in his latest Monday Morning Quarterback article that former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison is the coldest free agent of them all right now at the annual NFL owners\’ meetings that are currently going on out in Arizona.

King says that he cannot find anyone admitting to being interested in the soon-to-be 35 year-old linebacker, and that if he wants to play this year, he\’ll have to do it for less than half of what he was supposed to make for the Steelers in 2013.

Is any of this surprising to me? No, not at all.

Now that King has posted what he did about Harrison, several are speculating that he might wind up back in Pittsburgh. While I am not ready to guarantee that won\’t happen, a Harrison return would mean that he would have to agree to play for about $2 million, and more than likely even less.

Prior to his release, Harrison was scheduled to count $10.035 million against the 2013 salary cap. His release resulted in a dead money hit of $4.93 million. That dead money hit doesn\’t change even if Harrison were to sign back with the Steelers. Giving Harrison a one-year contract for $2 million without a signing bonus would mean that the Steelers really only saved $3.105 million against the cap after the smoke clears. A two-year deal with a signing bonus is certainly out of the question, at least in my eyes.

Keep in mind that the Steelers had to move on once they released Harrison. They could not assume that he might ultimately want to return at a later date at a discounted rate. They reportedly wanted him to take a pay cut in order to stay and he declined it. The two sides moved on.

The free agency signing period is not even one week old right now and it would be surprising to see Harrison and his agent Bill Parise give up so soon. Should Harrison remain unsigned come June or July, he might be willing to play for a one-year deal for around $2 million. By that time the Steelers will have more than likely have signed most of their draft picks and the release of guard Willie Colon will be made official, thus clearing $5.5 million more in cap space.

Would they have room for Harrison at that point? Possibly, but I wouldn\’t be holding your breath in the meantime.

  • rob.pghsteelersfan

    Pittsburgh better not bring him back. It is time to see what Jason Worlids can do. Harrison made his choice now he can deal with it. It was already past the time when they should have moved on, a pay cut should have never even been discussed. The Steelers have not had this problem in the past of keeping guys around too long, I hope they get over it quickly.

  • Bradys_Dad

    Do you think there’s any chance at all that Pittsburgh would re-sign him? Maybe at 2M for 1 year? He doesn’t have to play every down but it could provide some insurance with our “uncertainties?”

  • steeltown

    He would provide good insurance or depth.. but I suspect if he lowers his asking price he’ll get signed by another Team eventually. My guess is he’s asking for a 2-3yr deal and NO ONE wants to sign him for more than 1yr

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    I’m keeping an open mind on Harrison. For the rest of the league he is a very risky signing, due to the baggage (on and off field) he brings. I agree that he is someone you only look at after the draft.

    As for his number against the cap, the dead money is already gone. All that matters is what you would pay him going forward. If you sign him back for $1.5 or $2m and he plays at or beyond that level, it is a good signing.

  • Pete

    Well, nobody has signed Umenyiora, Hampton, Reed, Dumervil, Clady, Cruz, Lloyd and a lot of other big names either. I think what we are seeing is a lot more fiscal restraint than we have in previous years. Does anyone really think Asomugha will get a $15 mil contract this season? All of these players will have to take a lot less than they would’ve in past years. Teams aren’t spending what they usually do. Even the big spenders like the Raiders and Redskins have shown restraint. This may be due to the flat cap.

  • Kevin Gobleck

    if it’s for a VERY discounted price then i’d bring him back

  • Harrison would be smart to be patient. Some team’s LB will be injured during camp and they will need a quick fix for a year. He would do well to cool his heels till July…

  • Richard Edlin

    James Harrison was our thug; now he’s just a thug.

    He wants to be paid a massive amount for the player he used to be, in the league in which he used to play. He’s not that player and the NFL is not that league. Approach this from any perspective other than as a Steelers fan and I think you quickly walk away.

    If he’s signed prior to training camp to any team, then I suspect it’ll be a one year qualifying deal or something very close to it – I don’t think anyone would be interested in a multi-year deal, his production’s fallen away, he’s a potential PR nightmare for whatever team he’s on (or at the very least a distraction), and he’s 35. That’s more of a drop than I think he’s contemplating at the moment but reality will bite soon enough – especially if he’s in the majority of players who haven’t invested their earnings …

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    Well said. I think he is still a good player and his return last year was crucial to the defense turning it around, but he is not good enough to overcome the PR hassle for another organization just for a year’s worth of play.

  • Brendon Glad

    I wanted to see the Steelers work it out with JH…but they almost always prove to be correct in these situations. It’s likely they feel confident in either Worilds, Carter, or Robinson stepping-in, and stepping-up. And if 2/3 do it, then Woodley better have his hamstring on a swivel.

  • LucasY59

    Not at all suprised, one of the biggest mistakes Harrison could’ve made was to refuse the paycut the Steelers offered (he would’ve been paid more to stay than he will make anywhere else) Look at the other older players the Steelers have let go Ward and Farrior had no interest last year, have not heard anything about Starks or Hampton this year. The only way I see him coming back is if there is an injury during training camp and only for the minimum. I am ready to see what Worilds can do and I think Robinson should improve quite a bit from last year as well.

  • I dont like so much of resiging players of old to much, especially since they been preaching of going young. Its counter productive. His ship has sailed, even though every steeler has my best wishes and up most respect, save a few. Whats done is done. Lets rebuild from the the top down. And get it over with so been can retire with at least his jersey number 7 SB.

  • uglybagofwater

    Why are you so willing to outbid yourself for Harrison’s services? He’s a 35 year old player. There’s a reason nobody is beating down his door.