The Cincinnati Bengals are working on a deal to sign former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison that could be finalized this week, according to multiple reports Sunday.
NFL.com reported that Harrison and the Bengals were planning to get together Sunday to discuss a contract, but that meeting is on hold for at least a day.
Harrison and former Miami Dolphins linebacker Karlos Dansby came to Cincinnati last week to visit with Bengals officials. The team is trying to fill a linebacker spot left by Manny Lawson, a starter last year who signed with the Buffalo Bills during the offseason.
Last month, the 34-year-old Harrison refused to take a pay cut requested by the Steelers and was waived. He is due to make $6.57 million in 2013. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that the Steelers are not interested in re-signing him.
After the Steelers and Harrison parted ways, the Baltimore Ravens showed interest in Harrison before signing free-agent linebacker Elvis Dumervil. But other than the Bengals, few teams have reached out to Harrison.
Last season, Harrison missed the first three games with a knee injury but came on strong when he returned, tying for the team lead in sacks with six (his fewest since 2007) and leading the NFL’s No. 1 ranked defense. The 2008 NFL Defensive Player of the Year has 64 career sacks.
Dansby is considered a backup plan in case the Bengals are unable to sign Harrison, presumably at a better price than Dansby.