When sitting down with local beat writers on Friday prior to Cincinnati making significant progress with James Harrison, Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis told reporters that he was hoping to sign Harrison or Karlos Dansby before the NFL draft. Joe Reedy with the Cincinnati Enquirer wrote:
If talks with Harrison were to fall apart again, the Bengals are also interested in Karlos Dansby, who visited here on April 9. Lewis was hopeful of getting one but ruled out signing both. Cincinnati has an opening at outside linebacker after Manny Lawson signed with Buffalo early in free agency.
However according to Pro Football Talk, the interest may have been heavily-sided with Harrison. Mike Florio writes that Cincinnati never contacted Dansby since his visit on April 9, questioning the seriousness of their interest with Dansby. Obviously PFT pessimistically concluded that the Bengals used Dansby as "leverage" against Harrison, but the feeling was that Cincinnati was never seriously considering Dansby until after the NFL draft.
Harrison eventually signed a two-year deal on Friday evening.