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James Harrison. Do we need Insurance?

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Here he is. 2008 NFL Defensive Player of the year, James Harrison.

(First off i apologise for bringing this up but i want to know what other people think)

BUT!

Negotiations with the 2 time Pro Bowl Linebacker are not going anywhere fast, and I'll admit, I'm starting to get a little worried. I havent heard anything in this subject in awhile, and what has been said so far isnt exactly reassuring or confidence-inspiring.  Sure, he has a year left on his deal so its a bit early to panic, but i think Steeler Nation and the Front Office would breather easier having the situation sorted before it arises.

Both the Steelers and Harrison want to get a long term contract signed, but have hit a few speedbumps along the way.

Supposedly, the length or contract isnt the issue.However to me, "long term" means you know, 5-6 years? I may be wrong, but when it comes to a big money extension, I dont see the Steelers Front Office paying up big to a guy whos just hit 30 for more than 4 years. I could be wrong, heck i would hope to be wrong but i dont see it.

We didnt do it for Joey Porter, who since has just had the best pass rushing year of his career.

And i dont disagree with the way the Steelers organisation do things. Heck you dont win 6 superbowls without knowing what you are doing. Especially considering we've had like 30+ consecutive years or 37/38 (some ridiculously good stat) of sending a LB to the probowl. So what they end up doing, i have no problems with whatsoever.

Harrison had to bide his time, we all know his story, cut from the Steelers multiple times, cut from the Ravens (thank god) and then back to the Steelers as a special teamer and then heir to the LB spot of Porter when he departed.

2007 - 98 tackles, 8.5 sacks, probowl

2008 - 101 tackles, franchise record 16 sacks, probowl, DPOY

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via www.timesonline.com

But what is his tag now? Sure he deserves to get paid much higher than that lowly contract he had when a backup, but how much more?

With ridiculous money being handed out to the likes of Haynesworth, Scott, Hall and even Ray Lewis, at what price is Harrison going to come at?

If we cannot get an agreement done before this season, it is ikely he would be franchised next year, before hitting the free agency pool, if he keeps up his incredible run of form (highly likely). Then we have another shot at signing him "long-term". But if that were to happen, he would be 31, again, decreasing the likelihood of a longer term deal.

So what do we do? Obviously from my point of view, i want him back. Bad. But as always, I do not want to overpay him, because seriously how often does a big money, long term contract actually work out for both sides? We didnt overpay Porter to keep him, and things have still worked out great for all of us. If hes demanding too much, let him walk at the end of next year. If we franchise him then, and he holds out, odds are we would trade him, as the Steelers organisation dont negotiate with players who hold out.

I've rambled on, so I'll get down to my question for Steeler Nation out there:

Do we start thinking of drafting a Linebacker, not neccessarily early on in the draft, but do we do it and groom him for a year or two (Like Woodley and Timmons) so that we have the insurance at the end of next season or the next, to deal with the possibility of him departing the Pittsburgh Steelers? The other possibility is Bruce Davis, is he a candidate for the future, if the unthinkable were to happen with Harrison?

There a lot of you out there closer to the organisation than me, and some with much more experience and knowledge about these situations, so im asking you for your opinion.

I look forward to your feedback.

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