"I think both sides would like to get something concluded. I think it will happen shortly at some point here," Lewis said, via the team's official website. "Not long. Because I think everybody realizes when we go into the draft, then it becomes different situations."
Honestly, I don't see any reason for a draft deadline for either Harrison or Karlos Dansby, who is also on the Bengals' radar. Both are over 30 and are likely short-term solutions at outside linebacker. Even if they sign Harrison or Dansby, the Bengals should still consider taking an outside linebacker (perhaps Kansas State's Arthur Brown) early in the draft to groom him for a season before promoting to the starting lineup.
But I do like the fact that Lewis is telling Harrison the deal needs to happen by the draft or the situation becomes "different." As I've said before, the Bengals have the leverage here, and have the right to apply pressure to speed up a decision.
Lewis also wants right tackle Andre Smith signed before the draft. So far, the sides are having trouble agreeing on numbers. Smith reportedly was seeking $9 million per season, but that won't happen now, especially with little recent movement in the offensive tackle market.
"We'd still like to get Andre signed. We're getting down to the time of that," Lewis said. "We just feel it's important. He wants to get it done. But we just have to get his representation and our people to come to an agreement that we get him back here and get him going. He's anxious for it to occur, and hopefully that occurs here quickly."