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Najee Harris, Steelers Agree to Fully-Guaranteed 4-Year, $13.1M Rookie Contract

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMay 25, 2021

National Team running back Najee Harris of Alabama (22) walks to the sideline during the National team practice for the NCAA college Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021. (AP Photo/Rusty Costanza)
Rusty Costanza/Associated Press

Najee Harris is officially a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The running back signed his four-year rookie deal on Tuesday, the team announced.

Per Spotrac, Harris' contract is worth $13,047,447 total and includes an estimated $6.9 million signing bonus. 

Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter

Steelers signed first-round draft pick Najee Harris to the standard four-year contract worth a slotted, fully-guaranteed $13.1 million.

Pittsburgh had a glaring need at the running back position entering the draft and wasted no time addressing it by selecting Harris with the No. 24 overall pick.

After all, it already had Diontae Johnson, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Chase Claypool at wide receiver, Eric Ebron at tight end, and Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback. Just for good measure, it drafted tight end Pat Freiermuth as well.

Yet it was the running back position that stood out seeing how James Conner signed with the Arizona Cardinals this offseason. He was the only player on the Steelers with more than 368 rushing yards during the 2020 campaign.

That was the backdrop for the Harris pick, and the rookie may start right away for the AFC North champions.

Harris was one of the biggest names of the entire draft following a dominant career at Alabama that started when he arrived as a 5-star prospect, per 247Sports' composite rankings.

He helped lead the Crimson Tide to the College Football Playoff national title in his final season as a consensus All-American and the Doak Walker Award winner as the nation's best running back with 1,466 rushing yards, 425 receiving yards and 30 total touchdowns.

The 23-year-old was at his best in the biggest moments with three touchdowns in the national title game win over Ohio State, 125 rushing yards in the CFP win over Notre Dame and five total touchdowns in the SEC championship game win over Florida.

The 2020 campaign was not his first impressive one, as he helped Alabama win the national championship in his freshman season as a secondary contributor, ran for 783 yards as a sophomore and then posted 1,528 yards from scrimmage and 20 touchdowns in 2019.

Opposing defenses were unable to stack the box against Harris at Alabama given the presence of DeVonta Smith, John Metchie III and Jaylen Waddle on the outside, and he will likely find himself in a similar situation in Pittsburgh with its core of wide receivers.

Don't be surprised if Harris competes for Offensive Rookie of the Year now that he is officially under contract.

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