The best rivalry in the NFL has taken some hits over the last couple years due to retirements and anticipated free-agent departures, but a piece of news on Tuesday could breathe instant life into showdowns between the Ravens and Steelers.
A source told WNST.net that the Ravens have reached out to former Steelers linebacker James Harrison and the organization is apparently interested in acquiring the services of the 2008 NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Harrison was released last weekend after the Steelers and agent Bill Parise were unable to come to terms on a renegotiation. The 34-year-old was scheduled to make $6.57 million this year and was previously signed through the 2014 season.
Originally signed by Pittsburgh as a rookie free agent in 2002, Harrison spent some time with the Ravens organization — and was allocated to NFL Europe — before he was re-signed by the Steelers and eventually exploded onto the scene by becoming a starter in 2007. After making five straight Pro Bowls and accumulating 54 sacks from 2007 through 2011, Harrison was limited to just six sacks in 13 games last season.
For the right price, Harrison could be a good short-term fit to fill the situational pass rusher role previously held by Paul Kruger, who signed a $41 million contract with the Cleveland Browns on Tuesday. However, it’s fair to wonder how much production Harrison has left in the tank with his 35th birthday coming up in May.
Another name to keep an eye on is St. Louis Rams free-agent wide receiver Danny Amendola, who has reportedly drawn some interest from the Ravens in light of the trade of Anquan Boldin to the San Francisco 49ers on Monday. However, there has been some conflicting information as CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora reported Wednesday morning that the Ravens haven’t shown interest in the wideout.
The 5-foot-11 slot receiver made 63 receptions for 666 yards and three touchdowns in 11 games as Sam Bradford’s primary target in 2012.
Amendola was an undrafted free agent from Texas Tech in 2008 but eventually found a niche with the St. Louis Rams. Injuries have been a concern for the 27-year-old Amendola over the last two seasons as a broken arm cost him nearly the entire 2011 season and suffered a dislocated clavicle last season.
No one should confuse his ability in the slot with the physical approach of Boldin over the last three seasons, but Amendola could be a nice fit as a part of the equation to replace Boldin’s production in the Baltimore offense.
According to a Pro Football Talk report, Amendola is planning to visit two teams in free agency, but those teams have yet to be disclosed.