When linebacker James Harrison agreed to terms with the Bengals, our first thought was that the Bengals had extended an offer both to Harrison and linebacker Karlos Dansby, with a simple message: Whoever accepts first gets the job.
That’s the obvious inference flowing from comments by coach Marvin Lewis suggesting that one of the two linebackers, but not both, will be signed before the draft.
While it’s possible that the Bengals were going to sign Dansby if they didn’t sign Harrison, a source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that Dansby heard not a peep from the Bengals since visiting the team on April 10. This suggests that the Bengals used the possibility of signing Dansby as leverage to close the deal with Harrison, with whom the Bengals had been regularly negotiating.
It’s a valid tactic, and it apparently worked. How well it worked will depend on the details of Harrison’s contract.
The fact that nothing has been leaked from Harrison’s camp regarding the value of the deal means that, from Harrison’s perspective, the deal likely isn’t anything to crow about.