Dec 16, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison (92) in action against Dallas Cowboys tackle Tyron Smith (77) at Cowboys Stadium. The Cowboys beat the Steelers 27-24 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers should cut ties with linebacker James Harrison

After a disappointing season, the Pittsburgh Steelers are going to be faced with many tough upcoming personnel decisions. One of those revolves around linebacker James Harrison; in fact, it is quite possible Harrison has played his final game in a Steelers’ uniform.

December 23, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison (92) on the field against the Cincinnati Bengals during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. The Cincinnati Bengals won 13-10. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports’s Jason La Canfora reported Sunday that some inside the Steelers organization do not believe the veteran outside linebacker will be back with the team in 2013.

Harrison has been slowed by injuries the past two seasons and while he is set to make $6.57 million next season, he will count $10 million against the salary cap in 2013. The Steelers already have handed large extensions to linebackers LaMarr Woodley and Lawrence Timmons and the Steelers likely are not going to be interested in sinking a fortune into one position, so Harrison might be the odd man out.

Once a feared pass-rusher in Dick LeBeau’s defense, the production simply hasn’t been there to warrant paying Harrison big money.

After recording 16 sacks in 2008, Harrison has averaged only 8.75 sacks in the four years since. He did get to the quarterback 10 times in 2009 and had 10.5 sacks in 2010, but that number dropped to nine in 2011 and six in 2012.

With a ton of holes to fill for next season, it makes very little sense to tie up that type of money to a 34-year-old that is clearly on the downside of his career.

Kevin Colbert will have some tough decisions to make in the upcoming months, but this should be an easy one.

As sad as it may be for some Steelers’ fans, Harrison is one guy the Steelers need to cut ties with.

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