Bad news for the AFC North: The ageless James Harrison is sticking around.
The Steelers on Wednesday signed the 38-year-old pass rusher to a two-year deal, the team announced. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported the deal is worth $3.5 million, per a source informed of the contract. Both years of the pact will pay Harrison $1.75 million.
The outside linebacker confirmed the signing on his Instagram account:
This was in the cards for weeks, with Rapoport noting last month that Harrison and the Steelers both wanted to work out a new deal.
Players don’t normally draw multi-year pacts two months before their 39th birthday, but Harrison is a different species. The edge defender roamed as a powerful force last season, piling up five sacks on 758 snaps in the regular season before notching another 2.5 takedowns in the postseason.
Finishing as the 11th-ranked edge rusher by Pro Football Focus, Harrison shined in pass coverage and continued his solid play against the run. Still very much a part of Pittsburgh’s plans for the future, Harrison shows no signs of slowing down.
All in all, this is a terrible development for the rest of the AFC North, a gaggle of teams that — five years ago — never expected to be dealing with Harrison in 2017.