Bengals close to finalizing deal with LB James Harrison
James Harrison was initially released by the Pittsburgh Steelers last month after they determined Harrison’s $6.57 million salary for the 2013 season was too expensive. But the Pittsburgh Steelers again pursued James Harrison during the offseason, offering him a way to return, but at a discounted rate (by taking 30 percent pay cut).
As James Harrison hit the open market, he initially drew interest from the Baltiore Ravens. But after the Baltimore Ravens agreed to terms with free agent linebacker Elvis Dumervile, they lost interest in signing James Harrison.
The ill-fated tale has seen itself become the highlight of James Harrison’s free agency trip the level of interest in him from teams with the need for linebackers has dropped over time.
However, the Cincinnati Bengals are still in the market for an established veteran linebacker. James Harrison visited the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday and the Bengals brass reportedly seemed impressed by him.
But the Cincinnati Bengals also remain interested in former Miami Dolphins linebacker Karlos Dansby, although James Harrison stands as the most signable option at this point. After playing his entire career in a 3-4 defense, James Harrison will have an opportunity to take up a strongside linebacker role in Mike Zimmer's 4-3 scheme, alongside Rey Maualuga in the middle and Vontaz Burfict at weeakside linebacker. The Cincinnati Bengals had been searching for a replacement at strongside linebacker ever since Manny Lawson landed in Buffalo recently during free agency.
James Harrison spent the bulk of his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers, becoming a consistent contributor and starter for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Last season, James Harrison missed the early three games with a knee injury. James Harrison returned to start 13 games remaining in the 2012 season, combining 70 tackles, six sacks and a pair of forced fumbles.
The 10-year veteran James Harrison earned five Pro Bowl nods in during his time in Pittsburgh put up 64 sacks and collected 29 forced fumbles. Now he seems bound for Cincinnati.