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

CBSSports.com’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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  • ray

    woodley should not be back not james harrison. harrison at least gave an effort all season even though he was hurt most of the year. that’s alot more than can be said about Woodley. cut ties with Woodley!!!

    • shet

      Yeah but you are looking at a $10 million cap hit with Harrison, with holes to fill all across the field, that is a lot for limited production. Especially a guy who is going to be 35 years old. Guys at that age don’t typically see their production go up. A lot of money to tie up for average production

  • http://www.facebook.com/bryan.nicholson.37017 Bryan Nicholson

    I think Harrison was playing well enough at the end of the year to bring him back at a reduced salary if he is willing to reneg his contract to make it cap friendly. It would be different if the Steelers had someone ready to step into his position like he did Porter and like Porter did Gildon years ago