James Harrison goes unclaimed on waivers and becomes free agent

Former Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison was subject to waivers despite being a vested veteran because it’s after the trade deadline, but he no longer has to worry about getting snatched by a team he doesn’t want to play for.

Harrison passed through waivers unclaimed according to a report from ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter on Christmas Day. He’s now free to sign with anybody who is willing to offer him a contract if he chooses.

Harrison was released on Saturday somewhat unexpectedly because the Steelers needed to make room on the roster for the return of starting right tackle Marcus Gilbert. The 39-year-old would have only cost any team who wished to sign him just over $70,000 in salary cap space had he been claimed.

However, now he can be signed for the true veteran’s minimum for a prorated salary of just $62,500 for the final week of the season. For that, a playoff team could get an experienced pass rusher who could also be a wealth of information should that team run into the Steelers at some point during their postseason run.

Given that he’s only played 40 defensive snaps this year, it’s hard to say how much of an impact he could have on such a shortened timeframe but the Steelers’ all-time sack leader might still be able to give valued situational pass rushing help on a limited basis.

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