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hawaiiansteel
02-12-2013, 12:44 PM
Harris: Cheaper to keep Steelers’ Harrison

By John Harris
Published: Tuesday, February 12, 2013,

http://triblive.com/csp/mediapool/sites/dt.common.streams.StreamServer.cls?STREAMOID=_S$m8 sEFwJzYzvhEcsaioM$daE2N3K4ZzOUsqbU5sYsl80mcFl$SdRz $Q0LyHVpNWCsjLu883Ygn4B49Lvm9bPe2QeMKQdVeZmXF$9l$4 uCZ8QDXhaHEp3rvzXRJFdy0KqPHLoMevcTLo3h8xh70Y6N_U_C ryOsw6FTOdKL_jpQ-&CONTENTTYPE=image/jpeg

Steelers linebacker James Harrison is willing to restructure his contract. Smart man.

Harrison won't take a pay cut, however, and that stubborn streak could make him an ex-Steeler.

Harrison is scheduled to earn $6.57 million in 2013 and $7.57 million in '14. That's a big salary-cap number for a pass-rusher who turns 35 in May, is coming off knee surgery a year ago and is two years removed from two back surgeries.

Harrison may be banged up, but it's shortsighted to label him old. He's better than most of the young linebackers on the roster, who can't beat him out. He's still good when he isn't playing every down, but the Steelers aren't paying him all that money to be a part-time player.

Which brings us back where we started. Are the Steelers better off with Harrison on their payroll, even in a more limited role, at a fraction of his salary? Yes, they are. To believe otherwise is delusional.

Who on the Steelers' roster is better than Harrison at right outside linebacker? Jason Worilds? He's 10 years younger than Harrison, but an even bigger injury risk. Chris Carter? No, not the Cris Carter who just made the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a wide receiver.

“I don't think anybody would argue at the end of the season that James Harrison was the best linebacker the Steelers had,” said agent Bill Parise, who represents Harrison.

Parise is paid handsomely to say nice things about his client. Harrison wasn't the Steelers best linebacker in 2012 — Lawrence Timmons was. But Harrison was productive. In 13 games, he recorded 70 tackles and six sacks.

What concerns the Steelers are the three games Harrison missed while recovering from knee surgery. When he returned, Harrison wasn't the same explosive force from four years ago, and the Steelers must decide whether to pay Harrison his full salary this year and next, restructure his contract to create a lower cap number, or release him.

So let's take emotion out of what the Steelers should do regarding Harrison. The front office has to make a cold-blooded business decision, just as it did with Pro Bowl standouts Alan Faneca and Joey Porter.

The Steelers should restructure Harrison's contract or ask him to take a pay cut. They can't afford to pay him $6.5 million next season, so find a number both sides can agree upon.

Working in Harrison's favor is the Steelers' glaring lack of depth. The Steelers replaced Porter with Harrison and Faneca with Chris Kemoeatu. Their roster isn't deep anymore.

Will keeping Harrison on the payroll make the Steelers a playoff team again? They were 8-8 with him in the lineup in 2012. Although Harrison was slowed by injuries, can the Steelers be absolutely certain he hasn't played his best football?

Harrison is worth the gamble. The Steelers need Harrison because they aren't better without him. Letting him go would be a mistake.

Football being a business, I have the perfect landing spot for Harrison if things don't work out with the Steelers: Cleveland.

New Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, a former Steelers' minority owner, would consider it a major coup to sign Harrison, who was raised in nearby Akron. You better believe Haslam wouldn't ask Harrison to take a pay cut.

“There's no list (of prospective teams),” Parise said. “We're not talking about it. We've certainly not even gone down that road. James loves Pittsburgh. I think the reason people are talking about James is because he's a higher salary guy.”

At the same time, Parise said the Steelers made no assurances they won't release Harrison.

New York Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw was released last week, a year after scoring the winning touchdown in Super Bowl XLVI. Bradshaw led the Giants in rushing each of the last three years, but he struggled with foot and ankle injuries and was scheduled to earn $4.25 million in 2013.

“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.”

Personally, I think the Steelers could draft a linebacker in the first round to replace Harrison, but their future is now. It's cheaper to keep him.

http://triblive.com/sports/johnharris/3462343-74/harrison-steelers-dejankovacevic#ixzz2KgAhba1e

Oviedo
02-12-2013, 12:46 PM
Trade him!

Shawn
02-12-2013, 01:05 PM
Would Cleveland give a second rounder for him?

BradshawsHairdresser
02-12-2013, 01:38 PM
I'm concerned about the Steelers continuing to restructure the big-money contracts of aging players...seems like it's setting up the team to keep having cap problems down the road. It's difficult to see the Steelers doing restructures for both Troy and James...but if they have to choose between the two, I'm not so sure Troy is the one they should keep.
You're rolling the dice with either player, but it seems to me that Troy has been ineffective due to injury for a greater percentage of his games than James has. I thought Will Allen actually did quite a good job when Troy was out, but I'm not sure we have a suitable replacement for James (Allen is a FA, too, but shouldn't be too expensive to keep).

Oviedo
02-12-2013, 01:54 PM
I'm concerned about the Steelers continuing to restructure the big-money contracts of aging players...seems like it's setting up the team to keep having cap problems down the road. It's difficult to see the Steelers doing restructures for both Troy and James...but if they have to choose between the two, I'm not so sure Troy is the one they should keep.
You're rolling the dice with either player, but it seems to me that Troy has been ineffective due to injury for a greater percentage of his games than James has. I thought Will Allen actually did quite a good job when Troy was out, but I'm not sure we have a suitable replacement for James (Allen is a FA, too, but shouldn't be too expensive to keep).

That is what I have been saying. Need to just move on.

I disagree about a Harrison replacement. Remember we are talking about the Harrison of 2012, not the Harrison of 2009 and 2010. I think Worilds can step in and actually be better than Harrison has been the past two seasons

JUST-PLAIN-NASTY
02-12-2013, 02:54 PM
Keep him 2013 will cost $6,570,000 out of Rooney's pocket. Release him....Costs you $0. Monies in bonus are monies already received. You can't find out what you got until Worilds sees the field for a season. The arrow is pointing down on Harrison. Part ways.

phillyesq
02-12-2013, 04:31 PM
Trade him!

This would be preferable to letting him walk for nothing, but I suspect that he will be difficult to trade based on his age and salary.

That said, I think the defense will suffer without him as it did last year.

phillyesq
02-12-2013, 04:31 PM
Would Cleveland give a second rounder for him?

They don't have a second rounder - gave it up for Gordon.

steeler_fan_in_t.o.
02-12-2013, 11:45 PM
I read this article earlier today. Not being in Pittsburgh, I don't get to read these guys regularly, but I have learned a long time ago that this guy Harris is worthless as a reporter. Going on to this article, he starts his premise with this:


Harrison won't take a pay cut, however, and that stubborn streak could make him an ex-Steeler.

And only backs it up with this:


“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.”

So, the sole basis for his argument that JH will refuse a pay cut is that his agent publicly states that he is already a bargain. Well, that is his job, isn't it? To publicly stand strong behind his client?

I'm not saying that this means that Harrison will take a pay cut, but I certainly would not base it as fact that he will not. All that aside, what I can see the team doing is offering him the opportunity to stay at a significant reduction. His contract is not tradeable as no team would be willing to give up another player or pick and also pay him $6.57M. Especially if that phone call is an indicator that the Steelers are ready to rid themselves of him. I would love to have him back at a number around 2.5M for 2013, which would give cap relief of around $4M and hopefully give us the opportunity to see if he can bring it one more time.

Chadman
02-12-2013, 11:55 PM
Trade him!


As much as it benefits the Steelers & all the mock drafters to do this, the Steelers won't, because that isn't how they do business. That would restrict James' ability to go where he wants. The Steelers will give him the opportunity to choose his future, not make it for him.

They'll cut him. He probably already knows.

steelerkeylargo
02-13-2013, 02:13 AM
Wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It amazes me that you guys are under the impression that their is a chance of JH playing next year

SS Laser
02-13-2013, 02:33 AM
I am sure he will play some where.:cool: Just hope it is not in with a different AFC North team! I hear New Orleans calling James. Thanks for the Super Bowl!

AkronSteel
02-13-2013, 02:45 AM
I could see Cleveland stealing both Wallace and Harrison off the FA list. That is if JH is actually cut? I would suppose that he probably is considering he is going to refuse a pay cut to stay. Cutting him will save the team 5.1 million towards that 14.2 they need to reach by the start of the 2013 offseason. That's a big chunk. Couple that with the release of Colon and the deal restructuring of Woodley, Timmons, and Brown and that gets the Steelers in decent shape to offer on their RFA's and ERFA's. Extending Ben's deal would probably allow the team to make a good solid offer to Lewis and a couple other in house free agents (Legs, Batch, Warren). This is the time of year where Omar Khan is just as valuable to the Steelers as Ben is on the field.

AkronSteel
02-13-2013, 02:49 AM
I wouldn't be shocked to see a surprise cut too. Troy or Ike maybe? I just sense something is going to happen that will throw us all a curveball. It's time for the team to move on from a lot of their past, as painful as it is for all of us fans. I would much rather see the team be competitive going forward as opposed to hanging on to players who are past their prime and clogging up the teams salary cap.

SS Laser
02-13-2013, 03:00 AM
I wouldn't be shocked to see a surprise cut too. Troy or Ike maybe? I just sense something is going to happen that will throw us all a curveball. It's time for the team to move on from a lot of their past, as painful as it is for all of us fans. I would much rather see the team be competitive going forward as opposed to hanging on to players who are past their prime and clogging up the teams salary cap.

I also think there my be a surprise but not a favorite player cut. Maybe bring in a good FA. Or atleast I hope so.

steeler_fan_in_t.o.
02-15-2013, 04:17 PM
I read this article earlier today. Not being in Pittsburgh, I don't get to read these guys regularly, but I have learned a long time ago that this guy Harris is worthless as a reporter. Going on to this article, he starts his premise with this:



And only backs it up with this:



So, the sole basis for his argument that JH will refuse a pay cut is that his agent publicly states that he is already a bargain. Well, that is his job, isn't it? To publicly stand strong behind his client?

So, last week I said that this article was worhtless because the reporter is known for horrible reporting and taking huge leaps in reasoning.

Today I read this article: http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/3488327-74/harrison-steelers-parise#axzz2KszVGKs6

In which part of the article states:


With the Steelers about $14 million over the projected $121 million salary cap, there has been speculation they might ask the 35-year-old Harrison to substantially reduce his pay. He is due to make $6.57 million in 2013 and $7.575 million in 2014.
But Parise said Thursday that while Harrison “would (be willing) to help with that,” he and the Steelers have held no such talks.

hawaiiansteel
02-17-2013, 01:06 PM
Steelers Sunday Spotlight: The linebackers ... a legacy in jeopardy

February 17, 2013
By Ed Bouchette / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

No position on the Steelers has earned more fame, produced more big plays, visited more Pro Bowls and graced more highlights films than linebacker.

Linebackers were crucial to their 1970s Super Bowl dynasty when two Hall of Famers, Jack Ham and Jack Lambert, played in their 4-3 defense. An abundance of good linebackers prompted them to add one to the lineup when they switched to the 3-4 defense for the 1982 season and never went back. Linebackers fueled their consistently dominating defenses from the 1990s through now.

So how did the Steelers find themselves in such a spot now where linebacker could be their top draft priority? Those three killer reasons: Age, injuries, underperformance.

First, Lawrence Timmons must be excused from that discussion. Timmons had the best season of his six-year career, was the unofficial MVP of the defense and should have made his first Pro Bowl.

Playing the mack inside linebacker with more roaming duties, Timmons was dominant. He led the Steelers with 134 tackles, 20 more than buck inside linebacker Larry Foote, who was second (according to the coaches count). Timmons tied for the team lead with six sacks, led with three interceptions, had 19 quarterback pressures, forced two fumbles and recovered one.

Timmons was everything the Steelers asked him to be when they drafted him No. 1 in 2007. He's only 26 and he's under contract for the next four years.

Foote also had a good year. He had four sacks, 11 pressures, forced two fumbles and recovered two. He calls the defensive plays, taking over that role from his departed buddy James Farrior. Foote is 32 and a free agent, but the Steelers want him back and there's a good chance he will sign a one-year contract.

The disappointment with the Steelers linebackers did not rest on either of those two inside linebackers, both of whom started all 16 games in 2012. That could not be said for the rest of them.

James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley were a tough combination to beat for several seasons. They combined for 27.5 sacks in 2008, 23.5 in 2009, 20.5 in 2010 and 18 in 2011 when both missed significant time to injuries.

Last season, because of injuries and underperformance, they combined for 10, the same number produced by Foote and Timmons, who are not supposed to be the team sack leaders from their inside positions.

Harrison was held back by knee surgery that was curiously delayed until training camp after the issue kept him from participating in most of the spring drills. He missed the first three games and took at least half the season before he returned to form. He started the rest of the 13 games and tied for the sack lead with six.

Woodley was on fire when he had nine sacks through half of the 2011 season, but since then he has been unrecognizable to the former terror on the left side. His second half of the 2011 season was virtually wiped out by hamstring injuries.

Last summer, he was dogged by a groin injury in camp, and while he opened the season by starting four consecutive games, he never approached the kind of play that prompted the Steelers to lavish him with a six-year, $61.5 million contract during the training camp of '11. He is 28.

A hamstring injury knocked him out of the fifth game of last season, then an ankle injury and then another hamstring injury hit later in the season when he missed two games.

Through it all was a lack of production relative to his status as one of the league's premier pass rushers. He had four sacks, 15 quarterback pressures, an interception and a forced fumble and fumble recovery. Ordinary stats.

The Steelers believe that Woodley needs to approach his offseason workouts with more diligence to avoid the kinds of injuries that have dogged him the past two seasons. He still has great pride in what he does, but must understand that he cannot do it if he's constantly hurt, and all of his injuries have been in his legs and usually involve muscles. He needs to specifically work on his hamstring issues because those can linger -- as they have for him -- if not strengthened.

The coaching staff is counting on Harrison and Woodley for 2013. Harrison's $6.57 million salary could be an issue as the team tries to get under the cap, but the coaches would like him back at right outside linebacker.

The Steelers' top backup, Jason Worilds, had five sacks filling in for Woodley in 2012, but the coaches are still not sure if he would be ready for a full-time job yet. Worilds' past two offseasons were limited because of the lockout in 2011 and wrist surgery last year. Linebackers use their hands more than any position other than quarterback and Worilds was hampered by of his weak wrist.

Worilds is a second-round draft pick entering his fourth season and the Steelers still do not know what they have. He will be an unrestricted free agent next year. It's a big season for him coming up, the way the fourth season was big for Keenan Lewis in 2012.

Chris Carter is another young outside linebacker, drafted fifth in 2011, who got an early chance last season when he started the first three games for the injured Harrison. He started because of Worilds' wrist injury. Carter had little impact in those games; he had six tackles and two quarterback pressures. His season ended after those three games because of a severe abdominal injury that placed him on injured reserve. He has good ability, but he needs to get much stronger.

Stevenson Sylvester is the top backup on the inside but he also has been hurt too much. He was a fifth-round pick in 2010 and was impressive in his rookie preseason and early on special teams. However, he is far from someone regarded as Foote's successor as he enters his fourth year as a restricted free agent.

Sean Spence, a third-round draft pick last year, looked every bit as Foote's heir apparent until a knee injury knocked out his rookie year in the preseason. His injury was severe enough that the coaches will not count on him in 2013.

Another linebacker the coaches believe has potential is Marshall McFadden, who spent most of last season on the practice squad.

Entering the 2013 season, the Steelers' linebackers could look the same as they did in 2012, with, they hope, one big improvement -- that their pair of play-making outside starters stay healthy.

http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/sports/steelers/steelers-sunday-spotlight-the-linebackers-a-legacy-in-jeopardy-675711/#ixzz2LAm1l3t3