For those looking for a significant update on positive momentum regarding the talks with free agent linebacker James Harrison, look away. In fact, turn off your computer, enjoy the perfect Ohio weather. Otherwise continue at your own peril.
Talk with linebacker James Harrison and the Cincinnati Bengals are not going well. According to Ian Rapoport with the NFL Network, citing a source close to the negotiations between the Bengals and Harrison, the talks right now "doesn't look real good."
Asked a source to characterize the James Harrison/Bengals talks: "Doesn't look real good." These things can always change tho— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 16, 2013
Joe Reedy with the Cincinnati Enquirer tweets that nothing will happen today, though with a similar tune of the reports coming out of Paul Brown Stadium.
Mike Garafolo with the USA Today writes:
The sides haven't made much progress in talks over a new contract over the past few days and negotiations are "not going well," a person informed of the progress of talks told USA TODAY Sports.
The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because negotiations will continue and were to remain private, said more talks are expected. So while the progress isn't encouraging to this point, the sides aren't locked in a stalemate just yet.
Harrison was quickly projected as a part-time rotational player, mostly during base 4-3 formations and obvious pass rushing downs. And it may be the primary not-called-a-stalemate-yet roadblock at this point. Harrison refused a salary reduction from a base $6.57 million with the Pittsburgh Steelers, which eventually led to his release and allowing Pittsburgh to save millions under the cap. It's likely that Harrison wants something similar to both contract and role that he played with the Steelers, which we suspect is far greater than what Cincinnati is willing to pay.
According to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter added that it's a numbers thing, tweeting:
Bengals and former Steelers LB James Harrison continue talking, but as one source texted, "Does not look like the numbers will work."— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 16, 2013
Harrison's agent told Bengals.com beat writer Geoff Hobson that "we'd like to have a deal done by now. We'd still like to get it done. We have some work to do."
Bengals players are open to Harrison joining.
“He would fit right in over here. One of the things I like about him is he brings that intensity and swagger to the defense,” defensive tackle Domata Peko told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “Whenever I watch him play he is knocking people’s heads off. That’s what you want on that team. With Michael Johnson, Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins, those are a lot of playmakers out there and to add someone like Harrison would be awesome for us.”
“He hates the Steelers now, and that’s somebody we need on our side of the football,” Dunlap said.