So James Harrison is going to turn 39 this year. Know what Harrison thinks of that?
The ageless wonder continued his dominance in 2016 for the Pittsburgh Steelers, eventually becoming the team’s starting right outside linebacker over Jarvis Jones, but he is slated to be a free agent in 2017, and has declared he is not done suiting up on Sundays just yet.
With that said, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported Tuesday Harrison and the Steelers are both interested in a new deal, per his agent Bill Parise.
Talked with agent Bill Parise, who reps James Harrison. Said #Steelers want him back, Harrison wants to return. Sounds like a matter of time— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 21, 2017
It should come as a shock to no one the two parties are both interested in continuing their professional relationship. Harrison said he wanted to return at the end of the 2016 season, and Mike Tomlin said he is more than open to have the man they call “Deebo” back in the fold for 2017-2018.
With it likely being only a matter of time until Harrison inks a new contract with the Steelers, it should be noted bringing back Harrison shouldn’t impact the team’s approach to the NFL Draft. Just like in 2016, Harrison should not be considered the full-time starter from Day 1.
There was a reason Harrison and Jarvis Jones split time early in the season, and it likely had just as much to do with keeping Harrison fresh down the stretch as it did to giving Jones a chance to prove himself.
Nonetheless, with the class of pass rushers in the upcoming 2017 draft class being as stout, and deep, as ever, the Steelers would be wise to look for a play making rookie to split time with Harrison, and learn under the greatest pass rusher in Steelers history.
Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest on this situation, and other free agent signings, throughout the offseason.