After being cut by the Pittsburgh Steelers a few months ago, veteran linebacker James Harrison was quite confident that every team would be looking his way, each of them scrambling to sign him. Well, it’s almost eight weeks later and Harrison remains a free agent, but possibly not for much longer.
In the last hour, Joe Reedy of USA TODAY Sports broke with the news that the Cincinnati Bengals will be hosting the linebacker later on today, another in a growing line of linebackers that the Bengals have arranged to meet with this week, including Karlos Dansby and Akeem Ayers.
Harrison’s stats speak for themselves, and go a long way to showing why he refused to take a pay cut with the Steelers. He clearly felt that 614 tackles and 64 sacks should buy you more than $4 million a year nowadays.
Unfortunately for Harrison, he has been floating around the free agency pool without much of a nibble, so it’s not likely that he will even get that should he sign with the Bengals. The Bengals have always been known for being tight-fisted and stringent with their money so I’m sure if Harrison hasn’t seen that the Bengals aren’t going to over pay for him by now, then he is in for a big surprise.
Harrison, now 34 years of age, is still a force to be reckoned with on the defensive line, although he has long since reached his peak in 2008, the fifth year of his career. Recording 101 tackles and 16 sacks on the season, Harrison earned himself the honor of defensive player of the year.
Although he has been able to play at as high of a level since that year, Harrison has missed a few games over the last two seasons with injury, and it’s likely that the Bengals will be looking to drive down the price with this particular fact.
Personally, I don’t see him signing with the Bengals. He has played with a division rival for nine seasons now, and with the team’s ever-improving defense, it’s hard to say that Harrison would be welcomed with open arms.
Simon Greene – Cincinnati Bengals Writer. Follow Simon on Twitter @simongreene88