James Harrison’s stay in Cincinnati is over after one year as the Bengals announced they would be parting ways on Tuesday. Geoff Hobson of the Bengals’ team website announced via twitter:
— Geoff Hobson (@GeoffHobsonCin) March 13, 2014
Harrison was a presence in the rush defense with 30 combined tackles, 2 sacks, and 1 interception. He was a key veteran presence on this defense throughout the 2013 season, helping the growth of Pro Bowl outside linebacker Vontaze Burfict, who was only in his second year.
Harrison was signed last season to a 2 year deal with the Bengals after being released by the Pittsburgh Steelers. The release of Harrison will open up around $1.4 million in cap space. This may help put the Bengals in the right position to match the Cleveland Browns’ offer sheet for Andrew Hawkins made late Tuesday. The team has five days to do so.
The move also gives the Bengals more room to re-sign some of their own. Obvious names such as A.J. Green, Andy Dalton and Vontaze Burfict need extensions sooner rather than later, so cutting ties with a linebacker like Harrison with names like Emmanuel Lamur ready to pick up the slack makes a ton of sense.
It seems like the Bengals are bleeding talent as of late, but the moves are quietly necessary for the franchise to remain relevant financially.