He made the bed he is sleeping in by rejecting the Steelers generous offer.
1. Eric Ebron, TE
2. Calvin Pryor, S
3 (Comp). Jaylen Watkins, CB
4. Justin Ellis, DT/NT
5a. Brandon Coleman, WR
5b. Brent Urban, DE
6. Prince Shembo, OLB
7a. Aaron Colvin, CB
7b. Storm Johnson, RB
Bouchette says the Steelers are no longer interested, FWIW:
Ed: Steelers Close the Door on James Harrison
TUESDAY, 26 MARCH 2013 08:03
WRITTEN BY ED BOUCHETTE
Never say never, but the Steelers have informed James Harrison that they no longer are interested in him playing for them in 2013, according to a source.
Harrison has no offers and no known visits scheduled after he traveled to Baltimore Sunday for a Monday physical and a meeting with the Ravens only to learn that they had signed former Denver defensive end Elvis Dumervil that day and canceled his appointment. The Ravens plan to use Dumervil at outside linebacker in their 3-4 defense.
Bill Parise, Harrison’s agent, said on Monday that he “has a couple things going on” with teams in the NFL. However, the Steelers are not one of them and let Harrison know over the weekend they have decided to go with others at his old position at right outside linebacker.
That decision likely was formed not long after the Steelers released Harrison March 9 when the two sides could not agree on how much of a paycut the five-time Pro Bowl linebacker would take from his scheduled 2013 salary of $6.57 million.
The Steelers have at least kicked the tires of other veteran outside linebackers who are free agents. They had former Cowboys backup Victor Butler for a visit, and have reportedly been interested in Dumervil and former Colts defensive end/linebacker Dwight Freeney, who remains free after he was released by Indianapolis. Butler has visited three teams and left without a contract, first with the Steelers, then with the Saints and on Monday in Cleveland. He will next visit the Philadelphia Eagles, according to reports. Billy Davis, a former Steelers assistant coach, is the Eagles defensive coordinator.
The top candidate to replace Harrison at outside linebacker is Jason Worilds, the Steelers’ second-round draft choice in 2009. Worilds has been stuck behind Harrison and LaMarr Woodley and has played usually only on the left side when Woodley has been injured. Worilds played in all 16 games last season and started three for the injured Woodley. He had five sacks and 26 total tackles. He started 10 games in his career and has eight career sacks.
“I believe that Jason Worilds is champing at the bit to prove he is capable of being that,’’ Mike Tomlin said last week at the NFL meetings. “When I first got to Pittsburgh in 2007, and we had to let go of Joey Porter, there was a guy that came in my office that was ready to prove that he was capable of 900-1,000 snaps a year. His name was James Harrison. We will see what Worilds is capable of doing.”
One footnote here: Back then, Tomlin told people in the organization that it was a “no-brainer” to release Porter and his big salary in favor of Harrison after watching tape of the two. This one, obviously, has not been a no-brainer or otherwise the Steelers would not have negotiated with Harrison to take a paycut and return at age 35.
Chris Carter would be another possibility at right outside linebacker, although he was unimpressive when he started the first three games of the 2012 season for Harrison as he rehabbed from knee surgery. Carter had six total tackles in those games and no sacks. He ultimately went on injured reserve with an abdominal injury and also missed 1 ½ games with a hamstring injury. The Steelers drafted Carter in the fifth round in 2011.
One very outside possibility to move to Harrison’s spot is Lawrence Timmons, who has played there and started there because of injuries. However, the Steelers hope to keep Timmons at inside linebacker, where he was their best defensive player last season.
The Steelers could draft an outside linebacker and put him there. However, they have not drafted one who has been able to start there consistently as a rookie since they moved to the 3-4 defense in 1982. They also have not drafted someone to play outside linebacker in the first round since Huey Richardson in 1991 and the Florida defensive end could not make the transition and never played a snap for the Steelers, who cut him after one season.
Timmons has been the only linebacker they’ve drafted in the first round since then and, after an initial thought to using him on the outside, they put him at inside linebacker as his primary position. It took Timmons, drafted in 2007, until his third season before he moved into his starting job.
The final possibility to fill Harrison’s job would be for the Steelers to sign someone in free agency.