After being released by the Pittsburgh Steelers, there was some question as to what James Harrison would receive on the open market. As it turns out, his two-year deal with the Cincinnati Bengals will pay him less than what he could have earned next season in Pittsburgh.
Prior to releasing him, the Steelers attempted to renegotiate Harrison's contract, offering him $4.5 million for 2013. Harrison refused to take a pay cut, was released and signed a two-year deal with the Bengals, which is worth $4.45 million, according to Joe Reedy of of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Had he taken Pittsburgh's offer, Harrison could have made $6.57 million next season if he achieved certain incentives.
While Harrison may have ended up with less money by refusing the paycut, Cincinnati could come away with a steal, if the 34-year old linebacker can stay healthy. Harrison's deal includes a $1.2 million signing bonus, according to Joel Corry of The National Football Post. Harrison will make $3 million in 2013 and count $2.3 million against the Bengals' salary cap.
When healthy, Harrison was still a productive player last season. If he remains that way throughout the two-year deal, Cincinnati will reap the benefits. If Harrison is unable to produce, the Bengals can release him following the 2013 season with only a minimal salary cap hit in 2014.