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James Harrison could go in Steelers' March cap purge

The Pittsburgh Steelers lost 41 years of experience, seven Pro Bowl appearances and six Super Bowl rings when they jettisoned veterans Hines Ward, James Farrior and Aaron Smith early last March.

Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette believes that "March Massacre" could be "a drop in the bucket" compared to the massive overhaul coming in the next couple of months.

"The Steelers could lose every one of their free agents," writes Bouchette, "and they might have to lose a few more veterans if they don't agree to take less money in 2013."

Roughly $14 million over the salary cap, general manager Kevin Colbert will have tough decisions to make as he tries to free up space to ink free agent cornerback Keenan Lewison the heels of a breakout season.

We already know top offensive weapon Mike Wallace is poised to leave Pittsburgh to cash in on the open market.

The next to go could be 2008 Defensive Player of the Year James Harrison, who has lost too much speed as an edge rusher. Soon to be 35, Harrison carries a cap number slightly more than $10 million. Former agent Joel Curry tells that releasing Harrison would free up $5 million in cap room.

Joining Harrison and Wallace on the discard pile will likely be tailback Rashard Mendenhall, run-plugger Casey Hampton, left guard Willie Colon, and linebacker Larry Foote. With the Baltimore Ravens also turning to a youth movement, a window may be opening for the Cincinnati Bengals to take control of the AFC North in 2013.

Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.

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