When the Pittsburgh Steelers hosted former Denver Broncos offensive tackle Ryan Harris, they were hosting a Super Bowl champion tackle. Does he have the pedigree of some of the top tier left tackles in the NFL? No, but he has seen success in his time in the NFL. What complicates matters more, is how the Steelers were able to actually afford to pay him a reasonable rate considering the market value for capable left tackles.
The Steelers had already re-signed William Gay, Robert Golden, Darrius Heyward-Bey and Ramon Foster and brought in free agent tight end Ladarius Green. It didn't leave much wiggle room, in terms of the salary cap, for the team with the least amount of cap space after the first week of Free Agency.
Nonetheless, as the Steelers got all those aforementioned players to take some serious discounts on their contracts, the same happened with Harris when he signed on the dotted line.
Ryan Harris's deal with the Steelers appears to include a $675,000 signing bonus with base salaries of $1.325M in 2016 and $1.9M in 2017.— Ian Whetstone (@IanWhetstone) March 17, 2016
Again, a signing bonus of less than $1 million dollars, and never a salary cap hit more then $2 million dollars on his two-year contract. For a potential starting left tackle, that is one heck of a deal for the Steelers organization.
Whether fans want to hear it or not, Harris will have every opportunity to be the starting left tackle of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2016. Alejandro Villanueva might come in as the incumbent starter, but will have to prove his worth throughout OTAs, Spring workouts and, of course, training camp. Harris adds experience to the tackle position, and could be the depth the team is looking for in keeping Ben Roethlisberger upright and healthy.
Have two capable left tackles is a good problem to have. Having two on your roster at a discounted price is down right amazing.