Report: Steelers' James Harrison refuses to take pay cut

By Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
James Harrison turns 35 in May and is coming off a season with 70 tackles and six sacks. (US Presswire)

Steelers linebacker James Harrison is willing to restructure his contract, which is set to pay him $6.57 million this season and $7.57 million in 2014.

But he won't take a pay cut, his agent told Trib Total Media.

“Can we help the Steelers by restructuring James' contract? We're certainly willing to do that,” agent Bill Parise told the site. “Do we need to take less money? I don't think so. Personally, I think he's a bargain.”

That stance could lead to Harrison's release, as CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora believes.

Harrison turns 35 in May and is coming off a season in which he had 70 tackles and six sacks. The five-time Pro Bowler missed the first three games while recovering from knee surgery.

Parise told Trib Total Media the Steelers made no assurances they won't cut Harrison.

“Could it happen? It certainly could. The NFL can cut any player at any time,” Parise said. “Having said that, if James Harrison was released, there would be 31 NFL teams interested in him.”

Pittsburgh's other outside linebackers are LaMarr Woodley, Jason Worilds and Chris Carter. Harrison had the best season of the bunch but isn't the same dominant player after a couple of back surgeries two years ago and recent knee surgery.

Pro Football Focus graded Harrison as the 11th-best 3-4 outside linebacker last season.

All of which makes the Harrison decision particularly difficult.

Trib Total Media writer John Harris envisions a scenario in which the Steelers cut Harrison and new Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, a former Steelers' minority owner, scoops him up.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our RSS Feed, watch Pro Football 360 daily at 3 ET and NFL newsletter. You can also follow Larry Hartstein @LarryHartstein.

 
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