A mid-noon tweet by NFL Insider Ian Rapoport with the NFL Network suggested that the people representing free agent linebacker James Harrison and the Cincinnati Bengals were working on a deal that could happen as soon as Monday.
As we tweet, #Bengals and James Harrison's peeps are working on a deal for him to join the team, I'm told. Could happen today.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 15, 2013
Geoff Hobson with Bengals.com writes that any deal won't be significant, largely because of the team's overall role with SAM linebackers.
The Harrison negotiations don't look to have gone in-depth yet. But given that their SAM backer is on the field about a third of the snaps, the Bengals won't be looking to give Harrison one of those mega deals he pulled down as a perennial Pro Bowler.
This is actually something we've come to expect; not with the Bengals, but the somewhat declining value of SAM linebackers in the NFL within 4-3 base schemes. A defense like Cincinnati puts far more value on a fifth defensive back than they do a third linebacker. But we suspect that this was already discussed with the player and team, or else why would anyone waste their time?