With James Harrison hitting the free agent market, the next logical question is, where will he land? You may not have to look any farther than the AFC North to find that answer. The Browns and the Ravens could both use a pass rushing linebacker for a 3-4 system, and James Harrison would give them some information about their hated rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers.
In his nine seasons with the Steelers, Harrison accrued an astounding 64 sacks, and forced 29 fumbles. During that time, he also brought down the ball carrier 456 times. While Harrison's statistics have tapered off in recent years, he's still one of the league's best pass rushers, and he'll still demand a high figure to sign.
Despite his on-field accomplishments, Harrison's best asset may be his knowledge of the Steelers' 3-4 defense, ran by Dick LeBeau. Harrison has spent his entire career with the Steelers, and there are few current players in the NFL that know that team's defense better. True, the added knowledge that Harrison could bring, to say the Ravens or the Browns, isn't going to lead to a huge swing in the outcome, but it could be the difference in a very tight game.
The problem for the Steelers wasn't Harrison's decline in productivity, it was his price tag. The Steelers are working with razor thin salary cap space, and it will prevent them from being active in free agency. The Ravens have some salary cap space, but the big player here could be the Browns. With an estimated $46.6 million in cap space, the Browns could add serious talent to their roster through free agency if they decide to be a big player there.
James Harrison is somewhat limited by the 3-4 system he played in. He won't be looking to go to a 4-3 defense unless the price was very, very good, but his past production should give him the ability to seek a big deal from a team running the 3-4. The Browns and Ravens have an added incentive to bring Harrison into the fold, and that may be what determines where James Harrison winds up.
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