Found March 10, 2013 on SteelBlitz Steelers Blog:
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The Pittsburgh Steelers were forced to cut James Harrison yesterday. Just like last off-season and many before it the Steelers had to make a tough decision in terms of creating cap space. Harrison is nearly 35 and battled with back and knee injuries during the 2012 season. Even so, the Steelers were hoping to keep Harrison around for at least one more year, but the two sides could not come to an agreement on a pay cut. Many fans wanted the Steelers to restructure Harrison’s deal, but doing that would have just put of the inevitable as well as pushed more money into the final two years of his deal. Basically a restructure would have put the Steelers in worse salary cap problems for the 2014 and 2015 seasons. Instead the Steelers decided to cut Harrison, which cleared cap space for the 2013 season and kept any dead money hits from being incurred over the next one or two years. The only issue with cutting Harrison is that, like Joey Porter, (who was cut in 2007 and had his job given over to Harrison) he still has a good year or two left if he can get healthy. Therefore, he is now free to sign wherever he pleases and there are rumors that he could land with another team in the AFC North. That would mean playing Harrison twice a year for at least the 2013 season, if not longer. According to multiple sources including Harrison’s agent he could be interested in playing for the Cleveland Browns. The Browns are in need of pass rushers and their new defensive coordinator, Ray Horton, used to work on the Steelers staff and knows Harrison. Another fit that makes a lot of sense is with the Baltimore Ravens. Baltimore is expected to lose outside linebacker Paul Kruger in free agency and it’s unlikely that they are ready to hand 2012 second round pick Courtney Upshaw a starting job. Therefore, the Ravens could look at a player like Harrison in free agency as a stop gab across for Terrell Suggs for a year or two as Upshaw grows into the role. Maybe even worse than the Browns and Ravens, if that’s possible, would be if Harrison left for the New England Patriots. Shortly after being released Harrison made comments about wanting to play with Tom Brady. The Patriots could use some help on defense and a player like Harrison could be the type of emotional leader that could get their defense playing at a higher level. With a solid defense it would be scary to think what Brady and the Patriots could do. Losing a 35 year old linebacker that has back and knee issues to a division rival would be tough enough to deal with, but what’s worse is that the Browns have also expressed interest in Mike Wallace and Keenan Lewis. Wallace has also been rumored as a potential target for the Patriots, if Wes Welker leaves, or to the Miami Dolphins, who need receiver help. The Steelers will play the Browns (twice), Ravens (twice), Patriots and Dolphins during the 2013 season so there’s a good chance at least one of Harrison, Lewis, and Wallace may be playing against the Steelers next season. The post James Harrison Could End up in the AFC North in 2013 appeared first on SteelBlitz Steelers Blog.
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