Put it this way:
In '98, Lloyd was cut--the club was right in letting him go
In '08, Peezy was jettisoned--the club made the right choice
This year, it's Harrison--I'm pretty sure the writing is on the wall.
Your forgetting one thing. Harrison showed some serious potential when he got playing time making it a much more comfortable decision to let Peezy walk.
Worilds improved a lot but I don't know if he's shown enough for the franchise to think he's a legit ROLB starter. He's also had his fair share of injuries in very limited playing opportunities.
There is still a ray of hope we keep James as the two sides continue to talk, lets hope for the best here as they try to hammer out his contract.
Harrison accumulated 4 sacks in 4 years with 8 starts before he became a full time starter in 2007 after Porter's release. The year before Porter's release, he posted 20 tackles & 0 sacks. If you are looking for a comparison, Worilds accumulated 10 sacks in 3 years with 10 starts. Last year, Worilds posted 27 tackles & 5 sacks. Harrison was 29 when he became a full time starter. If Worilds starts next year full time he will be 25.
There is more responsibility playing OLB in the Steelers defense than justs sacks like making plays against the run and pass coverage. James when healthy could do well in all three phases.
Worlids might be good in the sack game but struggles everywhere else, its the reason the Steelers are still trying to keep James here otherwise they would just cut him and not even discuss a contract.
The Steelers will be looking for an OLB in the draft especially if James leaves, that tells me they have limited confidence in Worlids and not much at all with Carter.
My prediction.... Harrison will remain a Steeler and won't be cut...
I keep hearing the "other responsibilities" angle. Everyone take a breath and understand the scheme. I will try and simplify things. Nobody is going to play 3-4 OLB because they are great against the run. Nobody is going to play 3-4 OLB because they are great in coverage. You will be viewed as a 3-4 OLB because you can set the edge and rush the passer. That is why they also look at 4-3 DE to convert...They can get to the QB. That presence and ability is what impacts an OC's gameplan. You don't see anyone trying to turn a MLB into a 3-4 OLB. You don't see anyone trying to turn a SAM or WIL into a 3-4 OLB. Everyone in the Steelers long line of 3-4 OLB have exceled at getting to the QB...First. Out of all of them, some were strong or weak in the other areas and they had to get better. Every single one of us Steelers fans have seen the example. A LB who is ranked up at the top in the league with defending against the run, tackling, pursuit, and coverage. Moves to 3-4 OLB....Just an average player who was a non factor. Timmons time at OLB.
As far as the reasoning about trying to keep Harrison. It has nothing to do about confidence in who is behind him. They made a large investment in him years back. He still has value to the Steelers. You get him to take a signficiant paycut. He won't be in the plans past this year. You cut his minutes and get Worilds on the field. This accomplishes many things. You get to see what Worilds has before he is due his next contract. He needs significant minutes. By keeping Harrison's snap counts down you keep his body fresh for the end of the year & hopefully post season. That is the struggles & downfall of a 35 year old. Keeping Harrison one more year also creates signficant depth at OLB. Add in the leadership of the D & mentor to Worilds and other young OLBs. Last, helps your draft strategy. Now, maybe you don't look inside the 1st two rounds and address other areas where the choices will see the field sooner.
No matter what happens with Harrison they will be looking in the draft. If he stays, Harrison will be gone in 2014. If you slot Worilds as his replacement you need depth. More importantly, you need someone to constantly push Woodley & whomever is the starter. Competition always makes a team better & you could never have enough pass rushers. If that is the plans, you have Carter & Robinson sitting behind them so adding one will push them. Like I said, if Harrison stays, you add a later round and maybe he pushes Carter or Robinson off the 53. One position on a 3-4 team that you need a constant push & depth it is at OLB. Those "hybrid" players are a unique animals and they flourish at different rates. I personally feel that moment may be now for Worilds given Harrison's dip in production. I think at worst it is a parallel move with the arrow pointing up. Many will disagree but I believe my eyes not my heart.
Do you realize Harrison only started one game before we cut porter? Go look at Harrison's stats and career production prior to 2007. Then compare it to Worilds.
Worilds actually has a larger body of work compared to James in 2007. James Harrison was a pretty big unknown in 2007. When we cut Porter in 2006, people crawled out of the wood work with hate about the move.
Everyone like James Harrison because he had one good start in 2004 against CLE, an interception in 2005 against SD, and body slammed a Browns fan in 2006.
James had one start on his resume prior to 2007. It is revisionist history to say we knew what we had in James Harrison when we let Porter go.
Does anyone remember we had Clark Haggans to pair with James Harrison in 2007?
I'll take Worilds and Woodley over Clark Haggans any day of the week.