Steelers Need to Pass on Harrison, MJD

While the head coach and general manager visit pro days around the country, the front office has stayed quite busy entertaining a couple of free agents.

The two in question are former Steeler great James Harrison and former Jacksonville Jaguar Maurice Jones-Drew.

Let me blunt here; the Steelers need to say “thanks but no thanks.”

Harrison played last year in Cincinnati after he chose to not take a pay cut in Pittsburgh. While the Steelers clearly need depth at the outside linebacker position, signing the older and slower James Harrison does very little for the team.

Linebackers typically are major contributors on special teams and there’s no way Harrison will be doing that. Yes, he could provide some advice and knowledge to Jarvis Jones and Jason Worilds but the cost both contractually and logistically makes no sense.

As for Jones-Drew, here’s a guy that rushed for an average of just 3.4 yards per carry last year. That’s a full yard less than his career average. Ironically, this is the exact issue that Le’Veon Bell and the running backs struggled with last season.

Jones played in 15 games last season while playing in just five the year before due to a knee injury. At 28 years old, MJD is entering the final phase of his career at running back. There are reports that he has lost some weight and is ready to go but still, why would the Steelers want to bring in a guy on the downside?

The Steelers need a change of pace back who can move the sticks on third downs and who can fill in capably should Bell need a series off. I’m not sure MJD is that guy.

Don’t be overly intrigued by the names here. The Steelers need to get younger, not more ‘experienced.’

Marc Uhlmann Co-owns and writes for He can be heard weekly on Trib-Live Radio.

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8 comments on “Steelers Need to Pass on Harrison, MJD

  1. Now people are talking about speed what about J. Jones why doesn’t his lack of speed come into question. Youth doesn’t mean speed i have said it in the past 5.0 is just to slow to play OLB in the NFL. We have a big weakness at LB and to be honest Joey Porter and James Harrison would be better than what we are about to put on the field. Many people will think i’m just barking at the moon but it is what it is.

  2. Harrison brings intangibles to the weight room, the locker room, and the playing field. Even the sideline benefits from his demeanor. And recall that Peter KIng predicted a Steelers – Packers SB only after seeing Pro-Bowl LB Harrison running down kickoffs with special teams in practice. He’s the anti A.I. and brings a toughness to the black and gold. I agree that he’s lost a step (or angle when running around ends), and we don’t have the luxury of dressing 54 players; but he certainly kept “Young Money” and our sex-offending QB in check, and helped to define the Steelers identity.

    Identity aside, you bring back Hamp in his prime; and this defense is #1 again. Add Faneca / Bettis and you’ll never lose a lead again.

  3. The Steelers tried to get younger with change of pace backs over the past three-four years, Batch, Rainey, Stephens-Howling and our “power backs” have been Redman, Dwyer, so I will most definitely take MJD all day over those that I have named and he is a warrior…..just my opinion

    • I respect the opinion Pierre. We might not ever know what LSH could have really added with him going down so early in the season. My personal opinion on Rainey is that he was never used properly but oh well… Hey, if MJD comes in and produces I’ll be happy as heck!

  4. Harrison should of taken a cut if he wanted to be a Steeler. The sad truth is they’re thin at OLB and I can see him being a camp invite/june signing. Move on.
    MJD- I’d sign him for cheap money because as a Veteran he has what we’re looking for in a role player. Will he be a role player? I don’t think he’s ready for that reality yet, so Pass on him. If he comes down to reality I’d be good with the role signing.

    Truth is I like our No-Name RB’s and want them to battle it out. Alexander- I liked last year, Poole & Maysonet I wanted to draft late rounds. I like them and let’s let them battle it out.

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