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Pittsburgh Steelers consider re-signing James Harrison

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Hopefully, the Bengals cutting Harrison doesn't come back to bite them next year if he signs with the Steelers.

Karl Walter

After the Cincinnati Bengals released him this offseason, linebacker James Harrison made it clear he wasn't ready to retire. Even though he was relegated to spot duty for much of the 2013 season, Harrison managed to show flashes of the Pro Bowl pass-rusher he once was in limited snaps.

Perhaps he did enough to warrant the Pittsburgh Steelers bringing him back after cutting him during the 2013 offseason. He's already said he wants to play for Pittsburgh again, and the interest may be mutual.

According to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Steelers are considering bringing Harrison back to bolster a thin linebacking unit:

There is mutual attraction here and it’s quite possible Harrison will return to the Steelers for one more year. Both sides are being awfully quiet about it, but there have been talks about bringing Harrison back and I think it will happen.

It makes too much sense for it not to. The Steelers are extremely thin and relatively unproven at outside linebacker. They wanted Harrison back last season at more than $3 million. Why not have him back one year later at the veteran minimum in which he would earn $955,000 in salary plus a $65,000 roster bonus and count only $635,000 against the salary cap in 2014.

If they signed him to that right now, their cap space would shrink by just $215,000 (he would replace $420,000 for a player in his first year among the top 51 salaries, which are the only ones that count until the season starts).

Hopefully, the Bengals cutting Harrison doesn't come back to bite them next year. The Steelers currently have about $3 million in available salary-cap space, and because they designated LaMarr Woodley a June 1 cut, that will free up $8 million then.

Harrison isn't drawing much interest, so he could still be available then.