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Saturday, March 09, 2013

Steelers release Harrison

In a move that wasn't totally shocking, the Steelers released linebacker James Harrison on Saturday, saving just over $5 million in salary cap space for 2013.

The move came after the team reached an impasse with Harrison's agent on lowering the five-time Pro Bowl player's salary for 2013.

The Steelers used their new-found cap space to offer tenders to restricted free agents Emmanuel Sanders, Steve McLendon, running backs Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman.

Linebacker Stevenson Sylvester was not tendered an offer and will become an unrestricted free agent Tuesday unless the team makes him an offer before then.

The moves leave the Steelers just under the league salary cap of $123.9 million. But it could create some additional cap space with a restructure of linebacker LaMarr Woodley's contract if it chooses to make a move in free agency.

That could become an issue, particularly at the linebacker position, where Woodley and Lawrence Timmons are now the only returning starters.

In addition to losing Harrison, inside linebacker Larry Foote is also headed to unrestricted free agency, though the team would like to sign him to at least a one-year deal to return.

Former second-round draft pick Jason Worilds is expected to replace Harrison, the 2008 NFL Defensive Player of the Year who ranks fourth on the team's all-time sack list with 64.

Worilds had five sacks in limited action in 2012 filling in for Harrison and Woodley.

Free agent linebackers who might interest the Steelers include Kansas City's Brandon Siler, San Francisco's Larry Grant and Green Bay's Brad Jones.


Patrick said...

I hate this move, although it was probably necessary. Get the feeling that next year Harrison will have a year like Porter did with the Dolphins after leaving the Steelers.

Dale, any chance Harrison sees the market and comes back to the Steelers on more favorable terms?

I don't understand tendering Dywer and Redman. Should one or the other.

Jarvis Jones is the Steelers pick and I wouldn't be surprised if they trade up 2 spots to secure him.

Anonymous said...

I think there's an outside shot his market value is lower than what he'll consider acceptable and re-sign. Pride might dictate otherwise. If the choice was cutting Harrison or creating (deeper) holes at RB, WR, and NT, I don't think they had much of a choice.

Anonymous said...

The fact that they released Harrison before restructuring Woodley tells you they have no confidence in Woodley's long-term outlook. They're positioning themselves to be able to get out from under his contract after this year if need be. Looks like the "anonymous player" was on to something.

Anonymous said...

They better draft Jarvis Jones or this defense is not going to intimidate anyone next year. We will miss you James.

Steve-O said...

I don't think Jarvis Jones will get out of the top ten. Unless there's a first round miracle (two years in a row) Jason Worilds will be the starter. I like his potential but his injury prone history (and Woodley's) gives me cause for concern. We are thin at LB and I suspect will find someone in the first round to shore up the position.... Too bad, I was rooting for Cordarelle Patterson.

Dale Lolley said...

They are just covering their butts with the tenders in case somebody makes a run at one or the other. I wouldn't be surprised to see the tender pulled from Dwyer at some point, especially if they get a running back they really like in the draft.

Patrick said...

That makes sense, but its still an extra mil + against the cap. When can you pull a restricted tender? Is there a way for Dwyer to sign it today and them be stuck with it? (like a franchise tender)

I know the restricted tenders allow other teams to sign them to offer sheets, but what is the time frame for when they can pull it?

Viktor said...

Just because they released Harrison it does not mean they are drafting an OLB in the first round. Was Harrison a first rounder?? My sense is they will draft best player available regardless of need.

bruinmann77 said...

I hope some eam does not make a bid for Mclendon.we have no depth their. I wonder if this move will make it easier to move to a 4-3 defense.

Patrick said...

If Jones isn't there at 17 (though I think they will trade up to secure him), then they might go BPA. But Jones at 17 is BPA at a position of need.

Due to Jones's medical concerns, there is a good chance of him being there, and the Steelers need to take the risk on his medicals to address OLB.

What are their options, Worilds and Carter? I like Worilds and Carter is serviceable. But you are kidding yourself if you think Worilds is replacing Harrison. Even on a knee at 75%, Harrison was very good against the run, and that is where I think his departure will really be obvious. Especially when the ends include Hood and Heyward.

The pressure is really on Woodley.

And I hate the idea of moving Timmons to OLB. Hes just not an outside rush guy.

Anonymous said...

Do you think this is a make or break year for Kevin Colbert? He hasn't exactly been lighting it up in the draft. Recent history has been down right bad. I honestly can’t recall that last good one he has had. The drafting of Ziggy Hood, Cam Heyward and Jason Worilds really set this defense back. I realize they were the “No. 1” rated defense but I believe that is a hallow number when you factor in turnovers and the lack of pressure. It really showed this past year when they couldn’t close out a game in the 4th quarter.

The last good defensive player he drafted is Keenan Lewis. A player they spent two years coaching up to get to a decent level. An investment that now looks to benefit another team.

joe said...

harrison gone sucks. he played well later in the season once he was over the surgeries. intense, focused, tough. greatest play in super bowl history (if not the greatest play ever)

now i read they aren't happy with worilds ??

colbert and tomlin better do something very good with the 5 mil they just axed.

Dale Lolley said...

"Make or break year for Colbert?" He's orchestrated drafts that have had them in the Super Bowl three times for cripes sakes.

Anonymous said...

colbert's recent drafts have been down right awful

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Mike Wallace, Keenan Lewis, Timmons, Woodley, Sanders, DeCastro, Pouncey, Cortez Allen, etc.

What a horrible draft record!!!!

Steelers fans are such spoiled whiny babies. Super Bowl win in 2008, 12-4 and Super Bowl that they came very close to winning, followed by 12-4 in 2011 and then one 8-8 season and the panic comes out.

Grow up.

Anonymous said...

Why haven't I seen anything mentioned about cutting Harrison making money available to resign Lewis? Aren't the chances greatly increased now??

coupled that with Chris Gamble and rodgers cromartie joining the CB market too

Anonymous said...

Come on, you can't put sanders (a number 3 receiver) cortez allen and decastro down as big draft hits. that's insane. we don't know what kind of player decastro will be. has cortez even started a game?

take those away from your hit list and you have 4 decent players in 4 years.

i refer you to our rivals draft the last four years.

that is the standard. as someone famously said, "the standard is the standard"

Anonymous said...

Come on, you can't put sanders (a number 3 receiver) cortez allen and decastro down as big draft hits. that's insane. we don't know what kind of player decastro will be. has cortez even started a game?

take those away from your hit list and you have 4 decent players in 4 years.

i refer you to our rivals draft the last four years.

that is the standard. as someone famously said, "the standard is the standard"

Dale Lolley said...

Allen started final two games in place of Ike last year and also played the nickel. Forced four turnovers in those final two games. That's what made them feel that Lewis was expendable.

They have drafted more than four decent players in the past four years.

Anonymous said...

Dale, haven't you repeatedly referred to our recent lack of depth as because of the bad 2008 draft? And the drafts since then have not been big successes.

Hood and Heyward are disappointments. Woodley has been bad since being given huge money and now we are set to lose the talented young players we did draft in Lewis and Wallace. These last few years have not been Colberts finest hour.

The drafting of Rainey and Spence was a huge mistake too. Rainey can't play RB in the NFL and Spence is to small to be our ILB. Huge wastes.

kyle said...

"Hood and Heyward are disappointments. Woodley has been bad since being given huge money and now we are set to lose the talented young players we did draft in Lewis and Wallace. These last few years have not been Colberts finest hour. "

As long as we're comparing to the Ravens...Hood has been better than Sergio Kindle and Terrence Cody right? Heyward has been in the league for two years playing behind a guy who had his best year as a pro in 2011. Would you have called Keenan Lewis a "talented young player" after his first two years? Nope. You would have called him a disappointment.

As to Rainey and Spence, what makes you think they drafted Rainey to be a RB? Is it how most of his touches came on special teams? And if Spence is too small to be a 3-4 ILB then maybe they know something you don't know? No, you're probably right. They're idiots.

Patrick said...

I'm curious how someone can judge Spence's ability to play in the NFL. He may never have a chance to now, but there is no way you can say he can't play the NFL.

He never had the opportunity, unfortunately,

Dale Lolley said...

I don't consider Hood or Heyward a disappointment.

Woodley has not been bad SINCE being given the big contract. He was having an outstanding first half last season. then tore his hamstring. He tried to come back and play through it. Last season was an ankle injury that slowed him. Wasn't good, but again, he was outstanding in the first half of 2011. I expect him to regain that.

And I'm not quite sure how you consider Lewis and Wallace as failures by Colbert. The fact that they've played well means they will require big contracts. The Steelers have chosen to give big contracts to other players. That doesn't mean neither can play - contrary to the opinion of some on the board.

Rainey was a mistake, but a fifth-round mistake. They got a year out of him and he didn't work out. But again, it's a fifth-rounder.

And I'm glad you can see into the future with Spence to determine that he's too small.

Steve-O said...

Rainey was a known risk but at least for a season he was a difference maker on special teams. His off season antics ended a promising Steeler career but at a 5th round price I'm not complaining. The Ravens on the other hand spent their 5th round draft pick on CB Asa Jackson out of Cal Poly... Who? My point exactly.... 5th rounders are hit and miss. You can point out as many failures as successes so let's not throw Colbert under the bus just yet.

marc said...

how can anyone be leaning over the cliff at this point? you have to trust the front office more than that! do they make mistakes...of course. but, in the big picture, they consistently bring talented players to the team, that cannot be argued.

the harrison decision was pure business and a good decision at that. he might have one good year left, but it's not worth the price. better to apply that money to a talented younger player for several years.

right now, i'm quite concerned about the TE position. realistically, miller probably won't be 100% until the end of next season (if that). they need someone who can come close to filling those shoes.

Anonymous said...

How is Hood not a disappointment? He was a first round pick and he sucks. He gets blown off the line of scrimmage like I've never seen from a Steelers D-lineman before.

Although now that they re-signed Gay, he's not the worst player on the D lol

marc said...

i completely agree that hood is a disappointment.

however, i still think the jury is out on heyward. i think he deserves more playing time before that decision can be made.

Dale Lolley said...

Hood was a starter on the league's No. 1 rated defense last season. I'm not sure what exactly you expect from him. He started slowly, but the whole defense did.

If you're expecting 10 sacks, you haven't been watching the Steelers play very long - or at least haven't been paying attention.

Anonymous said...

Hood is absolutely a disappointment. He's miscast as a 5-tech, which isn't his fault, but the fact remains...he gets washed out of plays waaaaay too much.

Anonymous said...

Disappointment, in as much that they burnt a first on him. Could've received similar production from a walk on.

No one expects 10 sacks from a 5-tech. They DO expect them to kill the run and control the LOS. Hood doesn't do it often enough.

marc said...

a good comparison would be the MLB baseball player hitting .220 and batting eigth in the lineup of the #1 ranked offensive team in the league. he's only there because, well, someone needs to hit eigth.

same goes for hood. he might be on the #1 ranked defense, statisticaly, but he has very little impact on the success of that defense. did he have some bright spots, sure, far and few between but they were there. however, the majority of the time he was handled one-on-one, applied relatively little pressure on the QB and was often times the focal point of the other team's rushing attack (as in, they attacked him).

considering he was a first round draft choice, he is clearly disappointing at this point in his career.

Dale Lolley said...

Eh. I think the expectations are too high. While I agree that he's not Aaron Smith, he's not as terrible as some of you guys think.

I might add that even though he was a first-round pick, he was the last pick of the first round. We're not talking about a top-10 selection here.

And, as time has moved on, that draft is proving to be a pretty big flop as a whole. Look at the first-round washouts from that year - five of the top 11 picks are dogs - and tell me that a guy who is starting is a bust.

Look at the players taken after him and tell me who you'd rather have. There's a couple of safeties there, but that wasn't a need for the Steelers in 2009.