Dec 16, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison (92) in action against Dallas Cowboys tackle Tyron Smith (77) at Cowboys Stadium. The Cowboys beat the Steelers 27-24 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
If Victor Butler continues his tour of all NFL clubs, maybe the Saints should consider James Harrison. Butler visited the following clubs in the following order: Steelers, Saints, Browns, Eagles. He has yet to sign a contract. It is possible Butler may visit other teams before all is said and done. There does appear to be a disconnect between his agent’s assessment of the market and the free agency market.
As for Harrison, he decided not to take a pay cut with the Steelers and has been on the free agent market ever since. He was slated to speak with the Ravens but the signing of Dumvervil canceled his visit. Is there a possible return to the Steelers? No. Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported on March 26 the Steelers have informed Harrison it has no interest in bringing him back for the 2013 season.
Formerly, Harrison’s agent, Bill Parise, stated Harrison would “love to be in New Orleans” and would be a “great fit for the Saints.” This was largely dismissed in the New Orleans media when a league source told the Times Picayune the probability of Harrison joining the New Orleans Saints would be “a long shot.”
The Saints are looking for outside linebackers to fit their 3-4 defensive scheme. Would Harrison fit the scheme? Although Harrison’s numbers dropped off this past season from prior seasons, this drop off has been attributed to a knee injury he battled all season long. Harrison’s philosophy of training for his position revolves around tremendous strength training, and the results have been obvious. However, his injuries did not allow for him to implement his plan until late in the 2012 season. His production increased as the year wore on.
Rob Ryan gets production out of his outside linebackers. Would Harrison be a good fit? He has experience in the 3-4 defense. In my opinion, he still has something to contribute and should be worth a look by the Saints. The only draw back is the comments Harrison has made about the Commissioner in the past. Given the fact the Saints are on their way back into the mainstream of the NFL, Harrison’s comments may make him persona non grata on Airline Highway. Although, I must say, Saints fans would love it.