July 22, 2024

RB deal doesn’t bode well for Najee Harris’ Steelers future


On Thursday, the New England Patriots signed running back Rhamondre Stevenson to a four-year deal with up to $48 million, including $17 million in guaranteed money.

It’s a step in the right direction for the running back position, which has been undervalued as of late, but a step in the wrong direction for running back Najee Harris and the Steelers.

Why?

Pittsburgh declined Harris’ fifth-year option last month and it was worth just $6.79 million. So if the Steelers want to retain him after this year, there’s reason to think they’ll need to pay more than that option figure annually.

Stevenson’s new contract allows him to make up to $12 million per year — almost double what the Steelers were unwilling to pay Harris in 2025.

For what it’s worth, Steelers general manager Omar Khan did recently say that the team could still extend Harris.

“It was a business decision that we had to make by, I think it was May 2,” Khan said on 93.7 The Fan. “Najee’s awesome to have around here. Love Najee as a player and a person. And just because we didn’t pick it up, that doesn’t exclude us from doing something with Najee for the long term.”

However, Stevenson’s deal would likely be a baseline for Harris’ side of negotiations, making it highly unlikely that both sides will come to an agreement.

Harris, a former first-rounder, has been very vocal about how he disagrees with the devaluation of running backs. He has also outproduced Stevenson over their first three years in the league.

Stevenson, a fourth-round pick in 2021, has rushed for 2,265 yards and 14 touchdowns while also registering 121 catches for 782 yards and one touchdown.

Harris, on the other hand, has rushed for 3,269 yards and 22 touchdowns while also reeling in 144 catches for 866 yards and six touchdowns. He became the first player in franchise history to rush for 1,000 yards in his first three seasons, too.

So Stevenson’s extension comes as bad news for those hoping that the 2024 season isn’t Harris’ last with the Steelers. But that is what it’s starting to look more and more like as the offseason progresses.





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