The Steelers coaching staff strongly wants James Harrison back as they are not believers in Jason Worilds, and many expect Harrison back, but it’s going to be decision time for Harrison later this week.
Discussions are on-going between agent Bill Parise and Steelers officials on reaching a compromise that works for both sides. Harrison carries a $10.035 million cap hit and is due a $6.57 million salary in 2013.
“We are talking and we have been meeting,” Parise said when reached for comment.
The Steelers and Parise will continue talks over the next 48-72 hours as the Steelers hope to have a new deal worked out by Friday, a source says.
Information from both sides indicate the Steelers are against restructuring Harrison’s contract and Harrison’s camp has expressed a desire in reworking the final two years of the deal in a way to guarantee Harrison’s $6+ million salary for this season, through possible player performance escalators.
Things, though, appear to be setting up for Harrison to decide to reduce his salary for this season in some way through a reworked deal or take his chances on the open market. That is believed to be the only real option on the table from the Steelers end to reduce Harrison’s cap hit.
According to a source with knowledge of the negotiations, the Steelers want to reduce Harrison’s salary to around $4.5-$4.75 million, in what would amount to a paycut of close to $2 million.
However, It’s a number the Steelers feel is “fair” for both sides, the individual said and there has been a good faith effort between both parties.
The Steelers yesterday signed William Gay to a 3 year, $4.5 million contract that carries a $1.16 million cap hit. The Steelers now have less than $2 million in cap space.
Free Agency begins March 12th.