James Harrison would give the Cincinnati Bengals the NFL's best pass rush. The Bengals have already held talks with the 34-year-old former Pittsburgh Steelers star.
Those are talks are ongoing, according to NFL.com's Marc Sessler. Acquiring the free agent rush linebacker would boost an already fearsome rotation of pass-rushers.
Cincinnati's defense was just one sack shy of leading the league in quarterback takedowns in 2012. The Bengals compiled 51 sacks and trailed only the Denver Broncos and St. Louis Rams in applying pressure.
The lion's share of that pressure came from a deep and talented defensive line. Coordinator Mike Zimmer can rely on bookend edge-rushers Michael Johnson and Carlos Dunlap to collapse the pocket from the outside.
The pair combined for 17.5 sacks last season. Reserve ends Wallace Gilberry and Robert Geathers added a further 9.5.
Gilberry proved to be a very astute signing. He joined after being waived by the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Oakland Raiders have signed free agent cornerback Tracy Porter, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. The move reunites Porter with his former position coach Dennis Allen and strengthens a major area of weakness for the Raiders.
Porter's signing is the second move in what is already shaping up to be an excellent week for the Silver and Black. On Monday, they traded for quarterback Matt Flynn, gaining a new starter under center for 2013.
Acquiring Porter adds an experienced ball hawk to a depleted position group. The Raiders lost Ron Bartell and Michael Huff in free agency. At 26, Porter gives the Raiders a young and solid new starter.
Their pass defense ranked 20th in 2012, after allowing 235.9 yards per game. Part of the problem was that Allen didn't have the right fits for his coverage schemes.
Porter can play press-man coverage and will aggressively gamble on the ball. That's the template Allen used as secondary coach with the New Orleans Saints and as defensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos.
The Oakland Raiders have traded for quarterback Matt Flynn, according to Fox Sports' Jay Glazer. The deal is a bold move the Raiders had to make. It gives them a fresh start under center and signals the end of veteran Carson Palmer's time in Oakland.
NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal reports the Raiders will send a 2014 draft choice to the Seattle Seahawks, as well as a pick in 2015, for Flynn. He failed to win the starting job in Seattle after the Seahawks gave him a three-year, $26 million contract in 2012.
Flynn lost a battle with third-round pick Russell Wilson. The rookie then guided the Seahawks to an 11-5 finish and a playoff victory, while Flynn warmed the bench.
He had joined the Seahawks to escape life as a backup. He made only two starts in four seasons from 2008-11, as the chief deputy to Aaron Rodgers with the Green Bay Packers.
The New York Jets are finally fixing their weak pass rush, after signing free-agent linebacker Antwan Barnes. Manish Mehta of The New York Daily News reported the details of Barnes' signing. Frankly it is a bargain deal for Gang Green, paying him only $900,000 initially and then $1.2 million each of the next two years.
For a modest sum, head coach Rex Ryan is getting the kind of pure pass-rusher his defense has lacked for too long. Since Ryan arrived in New York in 2009, the Jets have failed to exceed 40 sacks in a season and no one defender has posted double-digits in quarterback takedowns.
Whether he has operated a 3-4, 4-3 or a hybrid blend of both fronts, Ryan hasn't been able to produce a standout pass-rush threat. He hasn't had the right athletes at the edges of his defense.
Barnes has the potential to emerge as the outside rush ace Ryan needs to make his schemes more effective. He is a natural rush linebacker with the initial quickness and agility to routinely collapse the edges of a pass-pocket.
The New England Patriots should waste no time signing recently released defensive end Elvis Dumervil. Having seen one of their own major starts, Wes Welker, move to the Denver Broncos, the Patriots should return the favor by signing the man who notched 63.5 sacks as a Bronco.
More than just superficial payback, the Patriots need a player with Dumervil's qualities to boost their defense. He is exactly the kind of hybrid rush end, crucial to head coach Bill Belichick's multiple defensive schemes.
Belichick loves to blend his fronts, mixing in elements of both the 4-3 and 3-4. This box of tricks relies on a pass-rusher able to act as both a defensive end and a standup outside linebacker.
Belichick hasn't really found this key player since Willie McGinest retired. Tully Banta-Cain performed the role for a while, but was only mildly successful. Mike Vrabel excelled at the position in 2007, tallying 14 sacks.