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Steelers GM Omar Khan ‘would love’ to keep Najee Harris long term despite declining RB’s fifth-year option

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The Pittsburgh Steelers declined the fifth-year option on running back Najee Harris‘ contract this offseason, leading to rumors of discord between the two sides. But the Steelers aren’t ruling out a long-term partnership, with general manager Omar Khan telling 93.7 The Fan he’d “love” to sign the former Pro Bowler to a new contract.

“It was a business decision that we had to make by, I think, May 2,” Khan said of Harris’ declined option. “But Najee’s awesome to have around here. (We) 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. I’d love to say Najee was here and had a long career in Pittsburgh. He really represents us well on the field and off the field. But it was one of those things we had to make a decision on. We just felt right now it was the right decision for everyone. But I love Najee, and I would love to have him here long term.”

Harris, 26, would’ve been due roughly $6.7 million in 2025 had the Steelers exercised the option. Instead, the former first-round draft pick will enter 2024 owed $4.2 million on the final year of his rookie deal.

Selected 24th overall out of Alabama in 2021, Harris has had a heavy workload with uneven results in three seasons as the Steelers’ top ball carrier. He approached 1,700 yards from scrimmage in his rookie season, earning a Pro Bowl nod while logging a career-high 74 catches. He also averaged fewer than four yards per carry in each of his first two seasons, and his receiving totals have decreased each year in the NFL. Entering 2024, he figures to share touches with Jaylen Warren, who averaged close to six yards per carry in 2023.

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Author: Cody Benjamin
June 17, 2024 | 9:10 am

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