James Walker at ESPN has the details regarding Silverback's new contract. For those concerned that we signed a 31 year old linebacker to a massive six-year deal, this should make you feel much better. You'll see that this is really a three year, $21.5 million deal. After year three, Harrison's salary jumps to more than $5 million per year. So if his productivity declines the Steelers will likely renegotiate the deal or cut Deebo loose. The cap hit is manageable and will allow the team (as we have already seen with Hines Ward) to go after pending free agents. Another job well done by the Steelers front office. Kudos to Kevin Colbert and Omar Kahn.
(UPDATE: One item of concern, the figures reported below only add up to $40.4 million. Who wants to play, find the missing $10.7 million?)
From James Walker:
A couple weeks ago, we explained that some league insiders were scratching their heads about how the salary-cap strapped Pittsburgh Steelers worked out a massive six-year, $51.175 million contract with Pro Bowl linebacker James Harrison this offseason.
Finally, the AFC North blog has the details. Here are the key points:
Harrison received a $10-million signing bonus up front and a $2.555-million roster bonus for this year.
Harrison's base salary in 2009 is $800,000.
In 2010, which could be an uncapped year, the contract gets tricky as Harrison's base salary drops to $755,000. But he also has a reporting bonus of $2.8 million.
In 2011, Harrison's salary jumps to $3.66 million and includes $900,000 roster bonus.
In years four, five and six Harrison's salary balloons to $5.315 million, $6.32 million and $7.325 million, respectively.
Our analysis of Harrison's contract is he will be a Pittsburgh Steeler for at least the next three years. Once year four comes around, Harrison will be a 35-year-old linebacker, and the team will have to gauge his level of play at that point versus the increasingly high salary.