Report: Bengals Reach An Agreement With LB James Harrison

Geoff Hobson reports that Bill Parise, the agent for OLB James Harrisonhas informed him that the Bengals have reached a deal with his client.

“Any time you can get James Harrison on your team, it’s a great day,” said Parise, per Hobson.

  • Ian Rapoport reports that Harrison will receive a two-year deal. 
  • Hobson expects Harrison to play SAM linebacker in their 4-3 defense.

Harrison could still play defensive end in pass rushing situations, but his primary position figures to be outside linebacker. Interestingly enough, the Bengals home opener is against the Steelers on Monday night.

We had Harrison listed as the No. 10 player in our Best Available Free Agents list.


Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis appears to be hopeful that they’ll end up signing either OLB James Harrison or ILB Karlos Dansby at some point before next week’s NFL Draft.

“Either player that comes in, we make some adjustment to things we do and we feel good about them,” said Lewis of Dansby and Harrison, per Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “They bring some playmaking ability to us and would be good to have. They are good men and would continue to enhance the defensive room. Both guys are smart guys and that would be good.”

  • Ed Werder reports that a “source with direct involvement” has informed him that Bengals negotiations with never ended
  • Ian Rapoport has confirmed that Cincinnati and Harrison have returned to discussing a possible deal.

Harrison, 35, visited with the Bengals a few weeks ago and it appeared as though they were close to reaching a deal before talks broke down due to financial differences.

It still sounds as though Harrison is their preferred option, but he he’ll likely have to reduce his asking price to reach an agreement.



Ian Rapoport reports that talks between the Bengals and free agent OLB James Harrison have “broken off.

Rapoport adds that Cincinnati could now turn their attention to LB Karlos Dansby who visited with the Bengals to too long ago.

Harrison’s asking price figures to be the main impediment to him reaching an agreement with the Bengals. Given the lack of interest, as well as the fact that the draft is just eight days away, it makes sense for Cincinnati to stick to their offer for the foreseeable future.

After all, Harrison is 35 years old and could be better suited to play in a 3-4 defensive scheme.


Ian Rapoport reports that talks between the Bengals and free agent OLB James Harrison have “hit a snag” and there’s now pessimism that a deal will get done.

Rapoport’s source added that it “doesn’t look real good” right now.

  • Mike Garafolo reports a source mentioned that talks are “not going well.”
  • Garafolo’s source added that they haven’t reached stalemate just yet.
  • Joe Reedy reports that it’s likely that nothing will happen on Tuesday regarding an agreement between the two sides. 

If Harrison’s asking price is too high, they could easily turn their attention to free agent LB Karlos Dansby who recently visited with the Bengals. 



ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported over the weekend that the Bengals and Harrison will “try to complete a deal” this week.

  • Schefter adds that Harrison is “more signable” than ILB Karlos Dansby at this point. 
  • Ian Rapoport reports that the two sides are working on a contract and an agreement could be reached at some point Monday.
  • Rapoport adds that the Bengals believe Harrison can play outside linebacker in their base 4-3 defense with him likely rushing the passer in nickel situations.

The market for Harrison has been almost nonexistent up to this point, but Cincinnati is clearly shopping for value here. It seems likely that they’ll be able to get Harrison under contract for a reasonable price.



Ian Rapoport reports that that there’s a “high level of mutual interest” between both the Bengals and free agent LB James Harrison

Rapoport adds that contract discussions could “ramp up” over the weekend, as the two sides are scheduled to meet again.

  • Ian Rapoport reports that the Bengals “liked what they heard” from Harrison during his visit on Wednesday, but no deal is imminent at this point in time.
  • Harrison reportedly talked with Bengals’ LBs coach Paul Guenther until midnight.
  • Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that free agent LB James Harrison will be visiting with the Bengals on Thursday.

Cincinnati recently met with linebackers Akeem Jordan and Karlos Dansby this week as well, so they’re clearly looking for some upgrades at the position.



Ian Rapoport spoke with James Harrison‘s agent, Bill Parise, who mentioned that five teams have interest in his client.

Rapoport wasn’t able to get any specifics regarding visits, interested teams or even a timetable as to when he could be under contract with a new team.

If there really are five teams interested in Harrison at this point in time, it would come as a surprise. There’s been very little buzz surrounding him since he was released by Pittsburgh. The fact that this news comes from his agent suggests that Parise is doing everything within his power to drum up interest in his client.

Dwight Freeney and John Abraham are still available and have generated more interest in recent than Harrison. Pittsburgh is apparently prepared to move on without him, so we’ll have to see if anyone is willing to give him a shot at competing for a job in training camp.



Ed Bouchette reports that the Steelers informed free agent OLB James Harrison over the weekend that they are not interested in signing him and plan to move on.

Harrison’s agent mentioned that his client would be interested in a possible return to Pittsburgh, but given the lack of interest up to this point, I’m sure he’d be open to playing for almost any team.



ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that free agent OLB James Harrison was in Baltimore for a visit with the Ravens just as the team reached an agreement with Elvis Dumervil.

Schefter adds that Harrison’s agent, Bill Parise, hasn’t ruled out a possible return to Pittsburgh.

Harrison, 34, has found almost no interest since being released by the Steelers. He was reportedly unwilling to accept a pay cut, which in hindsight seems like a poor decision on his part.


According to Peter King of Sports Illustrated, free agent OLB  James Harrison is the “coldest name” at this week’s owners meeting.

King mentions that he “cannot find anyone admitting to being interested in the former Steeler” and adds that Harrison will probably have to play for less than half of his previously salary.

This is interesting when you consider that the Steelers actually wanted to work something out with him, but he refused to take the pay cut that they proposed. Now it appears as though he’ll have to take an even larger salary reduction to play for a new team.

He’s reportedly interested in all the obvious teams; the Saints, Ravens, Browns and Eagles, but we haven’t heard much in regards to reciprocal interest from these teams.


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Carl Mertz

Dansby look like a better pick,James just looks like a year long IR player before he ever hits the field.

Howard Wheeler
Howard Wheeler

Big Fan Of James Here. He and his people seem to be in denial about the value of a 35yr old injured in consecutive years(missing significant time) lb’er. This book has been written before with many a players. He will realize that in 8 days when the phone has stopped ringing he had bad advice