AFC North: James Harrison Could Remain a Steeler

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December 23, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison (92) on the field against the Cincinnati Bengals during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. The Cincinnati Bengals won 13-10. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers are $14 million over the $121 million salary cap, which means they have some tough choices to make in the coming weeks, and some key veteran players will be cut. The linebacking corps could be the position that suffers the most. The most notable salary cap-casualty could be outside linebacker James Harrison, who’s 34 years old and scheduled to make $6.6 million next season. He said recently he won’t take pay cut.

The team could also lose free agent inside linebacker Larry Foote. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Ed Bouchette writes Sunday that both Foote and Harrison could return next season.

"Foote also had a good year. He had four sacks, 11 pressures, forced two fumbles and recovered two. He calls the defensive plays, taking over that role from his departed buddy James Farrior. Foote is 32 and a free agent, but the Steelers want him back and there’s a good chance he will sign a one-year contract. …Harrison was held back by knee surgery that was curiously delayed until training camp after the issue kept him from participating in most of the spring drills. He missed the first three games and took at least half the season before he returned to form. He started the rest of the 13 games and tied for the sack lead with six. … The coaching staff is counting on Harrison and (LaMarr) Woodley for 2013. Harrison’s salary could be an issue as the team tries to get under the cap, but the coaches would like him back at right outside linebacker"