The Pittsburgh Steelers made a decision yesterday that was likely difficult, but it wasn’t surprising and it had to happen. 34-year-old 3-4 OLB James Harrison has found himself on the free agent market after receiving his walking papers from the Steelers, and the move saved the Steelers about $5.1 million in cap space. Harrison is going to be highly sought after on the free agent market, and there are reportedly- and unsurprisingly- several teams interested.
There are two teams that Harrison has explicitly mentioned as teams he would be interesting in playing for in the New England Patriots and the Cleveland Browns. The interesting thing here is that Harrison was quite outspoken about his dislike for the Patriots, and the Browns are, of course, a big rival to the Steelers due to the whole Cleveland-Pittsburgh city rivalry.
Yeah, everyone wants to play with Tom Brady and an organization like the Pats, even if they play it off like they hate the Pats. Anyway, it would be difficult to accommodate Harrison to the 4-3, but Bill Belichick and the Patriots could definitely find a way to make it work. Harrison is a terrific edge rusher, and I think he could fit them as a 4-3 DE in that capacity. People always talk about his pass rushing ability, but Harrison is also an excellent run defender and is just as good against the run as he is rushing the passer. Another thing to keep in mind is that Harrison is still athletic enough to cover, so he can also play at 4-3 OLB if needed.
As for the Cleveland Browns, Harrison’s rep told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that Harrison “would love” to play for the Browns. He has many connections to northeast Ohio, because he is from Akron. Harrison also played for the Kent State Golden Flashes in college and worked with new Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton on the Steelers staff for quite some time. He would be a huge get for the Browns, and they really need a playmaking 3-4 OLB who can get after the passer.
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