But unlike Manning, who is still firmly entrenched as the team's quarterback and one of the best players in the league, and Dungy, who walked away from the game on his own terms earlier this season, Harrison's fate is out of his control.
At 36, the 13-year veteran is finally showing his age. After catching no fewer than 86 passes for at least 1,100 yards from 1999-2006, Harrison managed just 80 catches for 883 yards over the last two seasons combined. He only appeared in 20 games because of injuries, but that's sort of the point of all this.
NFL Network's Adam Schefter writes that it's not a matter of if, but when the Colts will part ways with Harrison. And in all likelihood, it'll happen in the next 10 days, sometime before the start of the new NFL calendar year, which begins on Friday, Feb. 28.
But make no mistake: It is happening. The Colts no longer can afford to carry Harrison, who is scheduled to have a $13.4 million number for an Indianapolis team that is starving for more salary-cap room to deal with free-agents-to-be such as CB Kelvin Hayden.The Colts shouldn't miss a beat in a post-Harrison world; general manager Bill Polian has an amazing knack for finding players to step into starting roles. Anthony Gonzalez will join Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark as Manning's favorite targets, and I fully expect Polian to unearth a few more contributors in the coming months.
If the Colts were to release Harrison, his $13.4 million number instantly would come off the books, saving the team $7 million against the cap. Harrison still would count $6.4 million in dead money, but more importantly, there would be the $7 million savings.
Who knows what the future holds for Harrison; he's not nearly the player he was just three years ago, and there probably aren't many teams looking for an undersized, injury-prone wideout who's lost a step.
It's potentially an inglorious end to a great career, but it's also a sobering reminder that football is a business. And for the Colts, it appears to be time to move on without Harrison.