NFL News | Steelers sign Harrison to new deal
James Harrison isn’t one of the NFL’s biggest bargains any longer.
Harrison, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ outstanding outside linebacker, reached terms with the team Monday on a $51.75 million, six-year contract that will make him the second-highest-paid player in franchise history.
The contract, set to be announced today, will pay the NFL Defensive Player of the Year a guaranteed $20 million — more than any other player in team history except quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who signed a $102 million, eight-year contract last year that will pay him a guaranteed $36 million.
Harrison broke into the Steelers’ lineup in 2007 and had 8 1/2 sacks. He had a Steelers-record 16 sacks in 15 games last season, and his 100-yard interception return for a TD — the longest scoring play in Super Bowl history — helped the Steelers beat Arizona 27-23 for their second NFL championship in four seasons.
Harrison, cut four times earlier in his career, cashed in after being an NFL starter only two seasons. The 30-year-old Harrison was about to enter the final season of a $5.5 million, four-year contract he signed as a backup in 2006. He would have made $1.4 million this season.
“James is pleased he will be a Steeler for the rest of his NFL career, in all probability, which is what he wanted,” said Bill Parise, Harrison’s agent. “The contract is reflective of him being the defensive player of the year.”
According to Parise, the contract is the largest signed by an NFL linebacker, although Harrison is not guaranteed of being paid the total value of the contract.
Harrison turns 31 next month, so it is unlikely he will play for the entire length of a contract that runs throughthe 2014 season.