The Cincinnati Bengals made one final edition before they’re on the clock during the NFL Draft coming Thursday, and it may be as big as any addition they get this entire offseason:
We announce the official signing of free agent LB James Harrison. Mike Zimmer’s defense just got a little bit nastier. #Bengals
— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) April 23, 2013
Despite missing the first three games of the 2012 season, Harrison finished tied for the team lead with six sacks and had two forced fumbles.
Pro Football Focus ranked Harrison as the 10th-best outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme last season in a whopping 837 snaps. They also ranked Harrison third overall against the run, and his 40 stops were the fourth-most by and 3-4 outside linebacker.
If Harrison can even play close to the level he was playing at last season, he’ll be a significant upgrade at the SAM spot, and help the Bengals defense become “nastier”.
Here is Marvin Lewis’ statement on the addition of Harrison:
James has been a dominant player on a team with a history of dominant defense. He has made a great number of game-deciding plays, and he brings us help in a position area we had planned to improve either through the draft or with a veteran signing. He will be a physical player against the run and will improve our pressure on the quarterback.