Harrison agent: No word yet from Steelers
The Steelers have not yet asked linebacker James Harrison to restructure the final two years of his contract or take a pay cut for 2013, Harrison's agent, Bill Parise, said.
With the Steelers about $14 million over the projected $121 million salary cap, there has been speculation they might ask the 35-year-old Harrison to substantially reduce his pay. He is due to make $6.57 million in 2013 and $7.575 million in 2014.
But Parise said Thursday that while Harrison “would (be willing) to help with that,” he and the Steelers have held no such talks.
Until the Steelers begin sorting out their various offseason issues, Parise said he doesn't expect to hear from general manager Kevin Colbert or director of football and business administration Omar Khan. Parise called his relationship with the two “wonderful” and “great.”
“There is nothing going on,” Parise said. “(If there's anything) it will be down the road.”
With the Steelers well over the cap, they could start making player moves next week in advance of the start of the free-agent signing period March 12, when all teams must be under the cap. The NFL Scouting Combine also begins next week.
Harrison fought through a left knee injury that required surgery during training camp to have six sacks and 70 tackles in 13 games.
His statistics picked up late in the season, as the five-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker's conditioning and knee strength improved.
Because he experienced an uncommon season in which his health got better as the season went along rather than the other way around, Harrison said last month he has never felt better going into an offseason.
While Parise told the Tribune-Review this week that Harrison didn't think it was necessary to take less money, the Steelers could reduce their cap hit by cutting Harrison's salary but giving the money back in the form of a signing bonus.
Another option would be to cut Harrison, which would free up about $5.1 million of cap space if done by June 1 but strip the Steelers of one of the best players at season's end on their No. 1-ranked defense.
Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @arobinson_Trib.
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