If Pittsburgh Steelers free agent linebacker James Harrison does indeed wind up playing in 2015, his agent has now made it clear that it will more than likely be with either the Tennessee Titans or the black and gold.
“We are certainly interested,” agent Bill Parise told Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean about the possibility of his client playing for the Titans in 2015. “James feels very, very strongly about coach LeBeau. And I know Dick feels the same way. It’s a natural thing. I’m sure the Steelers are still in play, too. It will probably be one of those. I hope it’s one of those. We are not ruling anybody out, but the two logical fits are Tennessee and Pittsburgh. Those are the team teams that make the most sense.”
Now that former Cleveland Browns defensive end/outside linebacker Jabaal Sheard has agreed to a two-year deal with the New England Patriots, one could easily argue that Harrison is the best available free agent 3-4 outside linebacker still on the market behind Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan. Those two players are more than likely going to sign somewhere in the next 24-48 hours and if neither lands with the Titans, Harrison would figure to be their next-best option.
The same really can be said for the Steelers, who at the time of this post don’t appear to have visits scheduled with either Orakpo or Morgan. That, however, could change very quickly.
The Steelers re-signed outside linebacker Arthur Moats on Monday and currently, he and Jarvis Jones are the only two outside linebackers under contract for 2015 that were on the teams’ 53 man roster last season. If the Steelers had any plans to re-sign free agent outside linebacker Jason Worilds this offseason, those went out the door Tuesday night when the former second-round draft pick decided to retire.
In the meantime, Harrison is busy working out in Arizona preparing like he’s going to play next season.
“James couldn’t be better. He’s in great shape, is working out, everything is good,” Parise told Wyatt. “His plan is to play this year. I would say something would happen in the next couple of weeks. He’d be an asset in transitioning into LeBeau’s philosophy. It just makes an awful lot of sense.”
Being as Harrison seems to have locked himself into playing for two teams in 2015, his price tag should be low. Last year he came out of retirement in Week 4 after Jones was injured and signed a one-year contract for the veteran minimum. One would think that’s the same kind of deal that the Steelers would want him to sign again this year, if indeed they want him back for one final season.
If the Steelers fail to sign either Orakpo or Morgan, they will likely wait until after the 2015 NFL Draft to decide whether or not they want to re-sign Harrison. That is, of course, unless the Titans decide they want Harrison before then. At that point, they will need to make a big decision.