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2024 is Shaping Up to Be Najee Harris’ Last Season with Steelers



Najee Harris Steelers RB

With the Pittsburgh Steelers declining Najee Harris’ fifth-year option, there’s a strong possibility that 2024 will be his last season in the Black and Gold.

An extension is still on the table for Harris, but it’s a murky situation, as he could price himself out of Pittsburgh if he puts up gaudy numbers in 2024. There’s also the dilemma that the Steelers might view Jaylen Warren as the better running back and would rather pay him a second contract instead.

According to Brooke Pryor of ESPN, with the new offense being installed, the feeling is the organization wants to see how Harris and the running backs function in Arthur Smith’s offense before making a longer term commitment to him.

Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette thinks it’s pretty much guaranteed that Harris will move on from the Steelers at the conclusion of the 2024 season. Time will tell with how Harris fits in Smith’s scheme, but Warren is probably the better fit.

“I know the Steelers kind of put out there that we want to see how he fits in Arthur Smith’s offense,” Fittipaldo said on the North Shore Drive Podcast. “We’re not closing the door on Najee being part of this team in the long term. But, I don’t know about you, but when you decline the fifth-year option, I think it’s 90 to 95 percent sure that it’s going to be Najee Harris’ last year with the Steelers.”

The Steelers haven’t placed the fifth-year option on a draft pick since T.J. Watt, who was selected in 2017. Terrell Edmunds and Devin Bush left after their rookie contracts were up.

Harris having a surly attitude due to the decline of the fifth-year option is a concern for veteran Steelers beat writer Mark Kaboly of The Athletic. Harris is very hot and cold sometimes in his temperament.

“Potentially, I mean he’s a very unique character. He’s hard to get a read on. Sometimes he’s cranky and sometimes he’s talkative. My biggest concern right now is which one are you going to get during the regular season here… is he going to be sitting and moaning and complaining behind the scenes… I’m not quite sure right now because he’s a very intriguing individual that can go either way at this point,” Kaboly said during a recent appearance on 93.7 The Fan.

Kaboly also discussed whether the fifth-year option decision would affect Harris’ relationship with Mike Tomlin.

“(Tomlin) still talks glowingly of him. You see the interactions and the behind-the-scenes stuff. I don’t know if it has changed to that point at least publicly or at least where we can see it here. I think it’s a big deal for Najee to get that C ripped off him last year. He wants to be a leader and at least tries to be a leader,” Kaboly said.

Harris became the first player in Steelers history to run for 1,000 or more yards in each of the first three seasons of his career. In 2023, Harris had the best season of his career in terms of yards per carry as he rushed 255 times for 1,035 yards — a 4.1 yards per carry average — and he scored eight touchdowns. Harris had rushed for 3.9 and 3.8 yards per carry in his first two seasons. In other words, Harris has become a dependable running back for Pittsburgh through sheer availability and some solid tape.

He had his most efficient season yet in 2023. Harris’ rushing yards of expectation, yards per carry, and broken tackles per carry were all career-high. There is a lot to signal that Harris has some upside left in his game, and this should be the best offensive line he has played behind.

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Jesus Christani
Jesus Christani
May 6, 2024 5:31 pm

It is going to be the same everywhere, brah…

Retiring a Steeler4Life is worth much more than taking a free agency deal from the Jets and disappearing… talk to Le’Veon… When the time comes, chew up and swallow pride like a $70 steak dinner and help The Steelers win some Super Bowls… talk to Jerome…


Edward Carmichael
Edward Carmichael
May 6, 2024 6:04 pm

as a true Steelers fan, if this is Najee Harris’s last year with the Steelers I wish Najee Harris well with his new team in 2025