One of the first questions on everyone's minds following the signing of linebacker James Harrison was, "how much will this move cost the Bengals?" Although it was widely reported that the team had upwards of $28 million in cap space prior to the signing, much of that money was already spoken for, leaving the Bengals with roughly $8 or $9 million to round out free agency. Factoring in the potential re-signing of Andre Smith reduced that number even further, resulting in many fans questioning if the team could afford to sign Harrison at all.
On Wednesday, however, the question of how much Harrison will be payed finally received an answer. According to Joel Corry, a former sports agent and current writer for The National Football Post, Harrison's deal will cost the team just $2,343,750 in 2013, a more than reasonable number for the veteran play-maker.
James Harrison's 2-year deal averages $2.225M per year. He received a $1.2M signing bonus. He makes $3M in '13 & has a $2,343,750 '13 cap #.— Joel Corry (@corryjoel) April 24, 2013
The main reason for Harrison's release from the Steelers on the eve of free agency was his $10.035 million cap number for 2013. Harrison was reportedly open to restructuring his deal with Pittsburgh, but did not want to take the 30% pay cut to $4.6 million that the Steelers were offering on a one-year deal. The fact that the Bengals signed him for less than half of what the Steelers offered him--on par with the deal the Ravens gave to Elvis Dumervil ($2.5 million cap hit)--should prove to be a major boon for the team, both financially and on the field.
Following this signing, the Bengals are now left with $26,390,197 left to spend, which keeps them in third place amongst teams with the most remaining cap space.