Sep 11, 2011; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Daryl Smith (52) jogs off the field during a game against the Tennessee Titans at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Fernando Medina-USA TODAY Sports
While the Bengals look to be on the verge of signing free agent linebacker James Harrison, that doesn’t mean they should stay satisfied with their LB depth heading into next year. While they’ll likely target a LB in the NFL Draft, there’s no guarantee they’ll get a quality player who will be anything more than special teams depth in 2013.
As far as available free agents, I think linebacker Daryl Smith would be a quality pickup. He can play the weakside and strongside, and would provide a true veteran presence. As of now, Maualuga is the only “veteran” LB on the roster that sees significant snap, and I think having a veteran to learn from is important for Vontaze Burfict, Emanuel Lamur, and any rookie LB the Bengals draft this year.
I think they’ll strongly consider signing Smith if they don’t find a quality LB in the draft.
You also can’t rule out re-signing Thomas Howard either. Ironically, both players missed the entire 2012 season due to injury, so it could end up being a case of the Bengals signing whichever player they think is healthier and more likely to contribute in 2013.
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