The Bengals are continuing to talk to free agent linebackers James Harrison and Karlos Dansby, and they want to get a deal done with one of them before the NFL draft opens on Thursday.
Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Bengals coach Marvin Lewis is hopeful of signing one of those linebackers, but has ruled out signing both. Lewis said both players can fit into his defense.
“Either player that comes in, we make some adjustment to things we do and we feel good about them,” Lewis said. “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.”
Harrison and the Bengals were reportedly close to a deal a year ago, only to have talks fall apart. Harrison hasn’t been able to find any team willing to pay him even close to the kind of money he was making from the Steelers, and he may now be regretting turning down the Steelers’ offer of a 30 percent pay cut. The Steelers have now moved on and aren’t interested in re-signing Harrison.
Dansby started all 16 games for the Dolphins last season and is younger (and has stayed healthier) than Harrison. Some reports have indicated that the Bengals would prefer Dansby, but that Harrison will come cheaper. In any event, the Bengals want to know what they have at linebacker before the draft.