Former Steelers LB James Harrison Signing With Bengals Appears To Be Imminent

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Cincinnati Bengals and former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison will try to complete a deal this coming week.

The Bengals reportedly are also interested in former Miami Dolphins linebacker Karlos Dansby, who also visited with them last week, but Harrison appears to be the easier of the two to sign.

Harrison took to Twitter last week following his trip to Cincinnati to say that his visit went well with Bengals owner Mike Brown and head coach Marvin Lewis, who have a hole to fill at outside linebacker after losing Manny Lawson to the Buffalo Bills during the free agency signing period.

Harrison, who will turn 35 years of age in May, was scheduled to make $6.57 million in 2013 before being released by the Steelers last month after refusing to take a pay cut.

Should Harrison wind up signing with the Bengals, it will be interesting to see the contract numbers. He was reportedly asked to take a pay cut of around 30 percent to remain in Pittsburgh, but refused to do so.

  • SteelSpine

    Schefter saying will try to make a deal next week, to me sounds less than Harrison signing immenant. But people for a long time said Bengals would be good match for Harrison so lets go with it. My2cents projection is if James is healthy to play when Bengals face Steelers (& ya have to say IF, because high odds he could have a flare up of his back or neck or a leg), if healthy, he figures to school Mike Adams, based on what lesser pass rushers have done to Adams. Might wanna have Max Starks’ phone number ready to dial in preseason, we might need Max to bail out Steelers again.

    Writing that will be unpopular here because when I player leaves, most posters change their mind on a player & will say (Harrison in this case) sucked when he was a Steeler. I’m hoping & counting on Adams to quickly improve his own pass blocking for NFL, regardless of which OT position he plays..

  • Shannon Stephenson

    This signing will also help give the Bengals some insight into how we do things on both offense and defense. I’m sure he will not get more than 2M a year. Would be shocked if it was more.

  • Jollyrob68

    Harrison still has a good year or two left in him. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t time to move on because it was. Just as Next year we’ll cry over Troy p. Plus Clark,Keisel &Ike.

  • mokhkw

    I wonder how they’ll use him? Is he effective in coverage to be a 4-3 OLB? I can’t see him taking snaps from the 2 DEs the Bengals have and would guess he’ll play LOLB, possibly leaving him to cover TEs and RBs out of the backfield.

    Obviously pass-rushing is his forte but when you do it from OLB in a 4-3 with the DE in a wide set it makes the distance to the QB drop spot longer than it is in a 3-4.

  • hergieburbur

    Honestly, there are few tackles that can handle Harrison 1 on 1. Adams is not one of them. Starks was always better against power guys like Harrison than speed guys like Freeney, but I don’t know that he could handle Harrison without a lot of help either.

  • hergieburbur

    Of those four, I think Keisel has the best chance to stay past next year (as a backup) based on their contracts. Unless they don’t address the safety position well enough, then I could see Clark staying as well. Contractually, this is pretty much guaranteed to be Ike and Troy’s last year without big pay cuts involved.

  • hergieburbur

    Yeah. but they have the space. Of course, Brown is so cheap he’d probably ask Harrison to spray paint his old Steelers uni rather than give him a new one.

  • steeltown

    I see Clark getting a 1-2yr extension, unless his play drastically drops off this season

  • steeltown

    Figures.. if he signs for $3MIL or less I will have some hard feelings against him and his agent.. to not take a paycut, sign with a rival for the same amount or less than that paycut would’ve entailed is ridiculous and almost blatantly retaliatory… of course, I guess its more pure desperation at this point

  • hergieburbur

    Well, to be fair, when they said he was open to coming back, that would also likely have been for less than they paycut amount. I see it as more admitting his ego got in the way and he overvalued himself than retaliatory, but I can see where you are coming from.

  • Maurice_hill_district

    Good one 🙂

  • LucasY59

    His agent was the one who overvalued him, James was just like everyone else (wants to be paid as much as possible) the Agent was the one who told him he was worth more as a free agent than what the Steelers were offering with the paycut. I may be wrong and it may have been pride on Harrison’s part, but now his pride is hurt alot more when he has found very little interest on the open market

  • LucasY59

    That’s what I was thinking a 35 yr old in pass coverage (other than his amazing play in the superbowl, dropping back has never been the strong point of his game) looks like an easy 1st down when needed, put the TE on his side and go after him (Miller when he comes back from Injury or drafting a guy like Eifert are going to win that matchup 9 out of 10 times)

  • hergieburbur

    True, but for these purposes, I largely lump the two together.

  • David Edward

    Agree with that…Harrison wasn’t good in coverage at all last year and was taken advantage of. I do like the idea of drafting Eifert since he can be used in many ways to create mismatches.

  • RMSteeler

    If Harrison took the pay cut there wouldn’t have been the cap space to match the Pats for Sanders. Plus, not being able to sign Gradkowski either (big deal, they wanted Hoyer anyway). Would have had to restructure, extend or cut 1 or 2 players to do it. Steelers tackles have gone against Harrison for years. They know what they’d be looking at.

  • Luke Shabro

    I’m a die hard fan of the Black and Gold but I can’t for the life of me get why so many of our fans get so upset when guys go elsewhere. Nine times out of ten it is because management decided to move on in a different direction. There’s a good chance that Colbert/Tomlin told Harrison that if he came back under the cut he’d be sharing snaps with Worilds which I’m sure he wasn’t thrilled about. These guys have to go where is best for them. As long as they’re not slamming the team who cares? I was slightly bitter towards Wallace not because he left but because I felt like he half assed it knowing he had one foot out the door. Anybody with eyes and a brain knew that Harrison gave everything he had when he was with the team. I wish him the best of luck but I won’t be surprised if he racks up anywhere from just 5 sacks all the way up to 12. Even if he has a great year, like Joey Porter did after Colbert released him, it was time to move on. This is the sink or swim year for Worilds. I wish Steeler Nation would stop with all the doom and gloom all the time lately. This last year didn’t go so well but there were plenty of down years with Cowher as well. Everyone loves to point to the successes of the 49ers and the Ravens as of late but will they be sustainable? Probably. Like Dave and Dave say, let’s see how these teams do now that Baltimore has to pay Flacco as an elite QB and wait until San Fran has to pay Kaepernick. They’ll find out how much fun restructuring is…
    We all expect this team to be in the hunt for the Lombardi every year and we very well may be. Every year there is low expectations for this team is when they seem to excel. Have faith Steeler Nation! Black and gold for life!!!