The thing is, Karlos Dansby wasn’t even supposed to be a Cardinal last season.
The veteran linebacker signed late. His price tag was too rich for the Cardinals when he was first released by the Dolphins. They were interested, but not in breaking the bank. That’s what you think of today, with free agency officially starting, Dansby hitting the open market after his one-year Arizona return and a mega-deal apparently already waiting for him in Cleveland. The Cardinals had offered a two-year contract to Dansby reportedly for no more than $12 million. The Browns are signing Dansby — who will be 33 in November, which is why the Cards weren’t going beyond a two-year deal –to a four-year contract. Kent Somers reported the deal would be worth $24 million with an astonishing $14 million guaranteed. In other words, more guaranteed money than the Cards’ deal would have been worth total.
Will Dansby be performing at a high level when he is 36? The statistics say probably not, which is why the Cards didn’t want to go beyond two years. If anyone is paying attention to GM Steve Keim, he’s made it clear he wants to work with a clean salary cap as much as possible. That’s the only way to have sustained success, Keim believes, and so dead money needs to be kept low.
You absolutely cannot blame Dansby. He thought he played at a level worth a big contract last year, so he got one. That’s why many guys were willing to sign one-year contracts last year — to parlay a good season into a bigger, longer contract. Dansby is the poster child for that.
But again, he wasn’t going to be here. The Cards signed Jasper Brinkley and drafted Kevin Minter and went into the offseason thinking that would be the options next to Daryl Washington. Dansby didn’t show up until the market had humbled him and he figured out the money wasn’t there. He admitted as such. And he gave the Cardinals a great season for a NFL-bargain of $2.25 million. The Cards were prepared not to have him until they had him. Now, Minter gets his chance. The Cardinals set a free-agent board not only with players from other teams but their own, ranking such. Dansby I would guess was near the top of their list but they have a backup plan (no, I don’t know what right now.)
Regardless, for a second time, Karlos Dansby leaves the Cardinals as a free agent, again after an AFC team showered him with money he couldn’t get in Arizona. Like last time, there is disappointment there wasn’t a way for him to stay. Like last time (with Daryl Washington) there is a young player just drafted precisely because this could happen. It’s the business.
Tags: free agency, Karlos Dansby
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