What to do with Dansby

Posted by Darren Urban on October 16, 2013 – 7:26 am

Karlos Dansby was an extra.

Yes, the Cardinals already had Daryl Washington and knew Washington was going to be suspended the first four games of this season. So the team brought in veteran Jasper Brinkley on a two-year deal and had just spent a second-round pick on Kevin Minter. They still had Reggie Walker at the time. They’d bid their time at inside linebacker until Washington returned. Dansby was too expensive anyway. But then Dansby wasn’t, dropping his price and his thoughts on an extended contract, and he was willing to sign in Arizona for one year and $2.25 million. It was a bargain if Dansby could play like the Cardinals remembered. Now, he is doing just that.

But again, in this ever-changing, fluid world of roster churn, Dansby wasn’t part of the plan when GM Steve Keim first started this overhaul. So now the question is whether Dansby is now part of the plan.

Dansby’s play has been fantastic. He is in great shape, he and Washington are pushing each other and ‘Los smiles all the time. He’s a happy man. Some have suggested that having Minter sit on the bench is crazy, that Minter is a second-round pick and should play. To that I answer this: For who? Minter was probably going to play at some point until Dansby landed in the Cards’ laps. Right now, both Dansby and Washington are playing well. You don’t break that up just to say you are playing your second-round pick. Minter, at some point, will get his chance.

As for Dansby, yes, he will turn 32 next month, but he would seem to be a candidate for a extension. Does that happen? There is no question Karlos was expecting more from the free-agent market last offseason and now he’ll be a year older. Does he want to test the market? He said he’s not worrying about his contract situation, and I believe him. He already had reality slap him in the face last offseason. But this is where Steve Keim earns his salary, determining not only if and how Dansby fits beyond this season, but also how much to offer. In this new world of football analytics, you just don’t pay a lot for aging inside linebackers, even if they have played well. You are adjusting for what you are going to get, not what you already have gotten, and it will be very interesting to see what the price point will be for Dansby.

Clearly, though, the return of ‘Los to Arizona has been a tremendous success. He may have started as an extra, but he’s become much more.

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28 Responses to “What to do with Dansby”

  1. By Dynosoar on Oct 16, 2013 | Reply

    I remember losing Karlos to Miami and landing Washington. I’ve posted the stat differences between the two and every time Washington has had better stats. I’ve maintained we got the better end of the deal (losing Dansby and drafting Washington). Was I wrong?

    I tell you I don’t see a better combination of ILB’s in the entire league than Washington and Dansby.

    I’d love to see a combination of Dansby, Washington and Minter on the filed at the same time.

    With Dansby back I know I’m a happy man. With the play of both of them I know I’m a happy man.

  2. By VoiceofReason on Oct 16, 2013 | Reply

    This is easy – you absolutely extend him. You play primarily a 4-3, with Dansby and Washington on the outside and either Brinkley or Minter in the middle. All of our outside linebackers are really 4-3 ends anyway…

  3. By Cheese on Oct 16, 2013 | Reply

    LOL…you’re already writing the excuses as to why they won’t extend him. Classic.

    The guy has ALWAYS been the best playmaker this defense has had, has never had a problem with the law, has played hurt…and the Cardinals have never given him fair market value with a long-term commitment and it looks like the Mouth of Sauron is greasing the wheels to defend them when they keep on keeping on with what they’ve done in the past. The idea that you posit a question of “if” Dansby has a place on this team after this season is ludicrous.

    The Levi Brown trade has netted us nothing now but opening up cap space this year and limiting it next year. Dansby has already become the leader and most consistent player on the defense…if that cap room ain’t targeted for him, then it appears Keim hasn’t learned much from watching his mentor Graves fail so often at his job.

  4. By Darren Urban on Oct 16, 2013 | Reply

    Cheese —

    RE: Dansby

    I thought you were less emotional than this. I guess I was wrong.

    Did they handle it well when Dansby was tagged the first time? No. Not sure what that has to do with now. Also, they replaced Dansby the first time with Washington — I’d say a pretty good move. Or are you going to argue that too?

    The only thing “ludicrous” here is your contention that it is a no-brainer to extend a soon-to-be 32-year-old linebacker in a league where that doesn’t always go well. I’d also guess you’d be the first to rip if, after an extension, his play fell off a cliff.

    That’s why they brought in Mike Disner. To measure out what such a move would be worth. It’s not black and white, despite what you apparently think. If Dansby is going to re-up short-term for similar money, sure, they might do something. But if he believes his big year is worth big bucks, my guess is both sides let it go to market. That was the whole point of the post — that they already had built for a world without Karlos when he signed. I never said he wouldn’t be extended, but Keim is going to do that on his terms, which is what any good GM does.

    Last thing: I never understand those of you who believe all I am is a mouthpiece and yet read my stuff. What’s the point?

  5. By clssylssy on Oct 16, 2013 | Reply

    I think you are right when you said Dansby hoped for a little more out of the FA market than a one year contract with the Cards however, it seems this was a win/win for Dansby and the Cards. With “older” players there is always an upside and a downside, you are getting leadership and knowledge of life in the NFL but with that can come attitude, entitlement, and a certain risk of being injury prone and a slowing that comes with age. Look at the FA players sitting this year out because teams couldn’t justify their pricetag. On the other hand, Dansby is getting an opportunity to have his face in front of millions of people marketing his skills and dispelling any speculations churned up by sportswriters in desperation of a topic to post. The Cards have been clearly the winner in this particular instance so far; we have gotten our money’s worth from Carlos and probably more and considering the way our defense has come together, I would hope that an extension of some sort is in the budget.
    While there is the big concern about Cap space, I would hope that the front office is asking themselves a bigger question in that, is this a team that younger players are going to see a future in that will help meet their career goals. Money is great, but you can’t buy your way into the HOF and the really elite players look at those sorts of “intangibles” when they reach a crossroads in their career. I think Fitz totally believed in this organization when he signed his big contract and he has gone above what was required on the field to represent the Cards and his sport in the most positive ways possible, only to have the organization now trying to get out of paying the backend of his contract; talks of “renegotiating” his contract so the Cards can have their cake and eat it too. (We saw how that worked out for Adub, one of the most loyal players to wear Cardinal red). Does Steve Keim/Michael Bidwill think none of the younger players are paying attention knowing their turn too will come one day soon like for Patrick Peterson etc.? This was the year of a new regime and the temporary fix. The 0-line got some patches, we didn’t get a franchise QB but instead a standin to buy some time and a lot of players on one year contracts. Some of these guys have proven to be good signings and worthy of keeping around but are really short timers. Despite all the big changes and overhaul, “The Song Remains the Same”

  6. By kauaicardsfan on Oct 16, 2013 | Reply

    I really love the fact that GM Kiem made the moves and churned up the roster this year, Even getting rid of Levi instead of waiting till the end of the year.
    This is a ” What have you done for me lately league ” . But as the old saying goes,
    ” If nothing changes, nothing Changes! “.
    Thanks for making the changes and trying to make our team better!!!
    GO CARDS!!!!

  7. By joe holst on Oct 16, 2013 | Reply

    Extend. D- Wash could get suspended again. Dansby is a great fit for Cards and Cards are a great fit for him. 2 years 8 million.

  8. By Coach K on Oct 16, 2013 | Reply

    YOU MUST EXTEND HIM. DANSBY AND WASHINGTON ARE THE TOP TWO INSIDE LINEBACKERS IN THE LEAGUE RIGHT NOW. There is no comparison to any other tandem. These two are clearly the top inside backers in the league right now! You must extend Dansby. Minter’s time will come. He can contribute on special teams and sub in when needed. It’s a great time for him to learn.

  9. By Matt on Oct 16, 2013 | Reply

    Coach K —

    Lol ever hear of Willis & Bowman. Those are the top ILB past few seasons.

  10. By Itsallinthecards on Oct 16, 2013 | Reply

    Tough decisions. The cards have great inside linebacker depth with Brinkley and Minter on the bench. It all comes down to money. I’m sure Keim would love to keep 4 great ILB’s but does the team have other needs that could be filled with money you’d give to Dansby.

    An interesting note on Minter – He went one pick in front of Kiko Alonso who is the best linebacker in football in 2013 – leads the league in tackles and interceptions. He had some character red flags that made him drop. It’ll be interesting to see what Minter can do when given a chance. If the birds had drafted Alonso he might be seeing the pine just like Minter.

  11. By georgiebird on Oct 16, 2013 | Reply

    Karlos has played better than expected and has filled a need.
    That being said, I would NOTgive KD an extension.
    The 3-4 defense depends on top-flite linebacker play- the 9 minute plus SF drive in the 3rd and 4th quarter proves we don’t have that type of LB player.
    Extending Karlos is the safe bet but it’s not going to get us to the next level. Young, big, fast LB’s with high ceilings is the only way to go if the 3-4 defense is to succeed.

  12. By cooldaddy79 on Oct 16, 2013 | Reply


  13. By sherri on Oct 16, 2013 | Reply

    Extend him. With all these great LB’s ,ONE should be able to cover the TE and stop the bleeding the D gets from the TE.

  14. By Big Ken on Oct 16, 2013 | Reply

    I figure offer him another one year deal, but give him a raise. Come on he’s going to be 32 soon. There is going to be some of the guys we have not coming back next year. I know, shocker! Change is the nature of teams today. Many of the current players signed one year deals.

  15. By NYCardinals212 on Oct 16, 2013 | Reply


    Don’t ever change.

  16. By John The Draft Guy on Oct 16, 2013 | Reply


    Side note – Three questions; Since we are looking into the future,

    1. If Dansby is extended, Does that say anything about Minter’s play?

    2. If the cards begin to slip and find themselves 3-7 , 4-8, do you have to go with the rookie to see what he has?

    3. If he continues to play on the pace he is playing, can we afford to sign Dansby ?

    To me, a Dansby extension is way down the line and is way too early to make that call. He has been stellar through the first 6 games. But how will his 32 year old body hold up in the last 6 games.
    Without a doubt, he has been one of the shinning surprise stars this season. Ray Lewis played at a high level into his mid 30s, maybe Dansby can too. It will be interesting in December/January .

  17. By Cheese on Oct 16, 2013 | Reply


    They “replaced” Dansby with Washington. Sorry Darren…but there’s no reason the team should have replaced Washington with Dansby when they could have ADDED him to Dansby. I remember when the move was made and you (just like you did above) and many others said they couldn’t play together. Well, I disagreed then and it’s pretty apparent that they can not only play together, but they can be a force in the middle of the field unlike anything we’ve really ever seen from this team at that position. And before anyway counters that it would have been expensive to pay Dansby and add Washington…correct me if I’m wrong, but that was the same off-season where the Cardinals sat on 30 MILLION DOLLARS in cap room less then the previous season. There didn’t have to be a one or the other scenario money wise or position wise.

    And no…if the team makes the move i believe to be the right one and say as such, I don’t double back on my word and then rip it. That apparently is your game, as you consistently defended the way the Cardinals dealt with Dansby, but now that the old regime is gone, you say they didn’t deal with it well.

    As to the whole “aging LBer” thing…they guy has at least two good years left in him, we’ve seen that at ILB, guys like London Fletcher, Ray Lewis, Takeo Spikes, lay well into their mid-to late 30’s. Dansby is a 3 down LBer, that can play the run, defend the pass and even rush the passer. Unless we actually have someone who can do all those things behind him, not getting him extended for a decent contract, especially with cap space available, just seems incredibly short-sighted.


    oh…and I won’t speak for anyone else, but i read your column to get updates on injuries and the like. anything else you say I usually take with a bag of salt.

  18. By ored on Oct 16, 2013 | Reply

    not even half-time in the season,much needs to be played out AND this is the 1st year for GM and Coaches,how can you say same old stuff,glass is still half full no matter what,still way early on our the cards we’re dealt this year…next year a rejuvinated o-line,stud TE,plethora of QBs to choose from,stay the course on smart manuevers,ROME was’nt built in a day but the phoenix will arise from the ashes…tap,tap,tap this year,knock the door down next year.

    not every decision is going my way of thinking either,but everybody has an opinion and end of the day i’m excited the way it’s going.

  19. By cardinal on Oct 16, 2013 | Reply

    Dont lose Dansby TWICE!!!

  20. By Patrick Hoog aka Don't Take Losses on Oct 16, 2013 | Reply

    Dansby was a very good player here, was key in the SB run too. After that he was about the $$. Can’t hate him for that, but he was not about team or legacies with the Cards. I was dubious of his return, but he got his weight right, got his body strong, got his mind right and he’s a smart football player.. and a playmaker. I applaud him… but one year at a time on that contract Los 😉 You worked us on the franchise tag for 2 years as i recall and then got the Big $$. You’ve made enuff, now lets finish the SB bid’ness.

  21. By Kaleb on Oct 16, 2013 | Reply

    If minter was ready to go he would be out there making an impact. The cardinals rotate a lot of D packages and minter has seen the field without making his presence known. It will come in time but for now dandy is the guy. Maybe minter is good to go next year and ‘Los will land another big contract with Miami, cause he won’t get it from az. He is a great player but the money isn’t there. D wash is eating that up. Brinkley has been solid too for his price. On another note I think yeremiah bell has outplayed my expectations of him. Mark my words if the cards win Thursday they make the playoffs… Bad news is.. If they lose, the wont.

  22. By jasonc on Oct 16, 2013 | Reply


    Karlos Dansby was franchised twice by the Cardinals in 2008 and 2009 which I believe Darren is saying the team didn’t handle well. However, after 2009 they did offer him a fair market long term deal, but he opted out for a market redefining deal when Miami made him the highest paid ILB in NFL history. He was an UFA so we didn’t have the opportunity to “match” the offer, and in my opinion it would’ve been unwise to pay that much money for an ILB. For a comparison Daryl Washington’s contract extension was 6 years 33, 2.5 million signing bonus and 5 million guaranteed. Karlos Dansby’s Miami deal was 5 years 43 million, 11 million signing bonus and 22 million guaranteed.

  23. By ored on Oct 16, 2013 | Reply

    i really think we win this one knowing we just have to push a little harder and then we get some rest,it’s not a desperation thing,it’s just taking care of business so we finish on a positive note.with that done we have time to heal and soak in what we’ve been learning,maybe even housler comes around,i don’t think he’s coming back next year unless the light comes on for him.but a win here would be a great time for some reflection on where we’re at,set new goals and renew our determination.

  24. By Corgon on Oct 17, 2013 | Reply

    I hope we’ll keep him, but I trust in Keim and Los as well. When the time will come, they’ll decide it. I’m sure there will be a conversation.
    At the moment I just enjoy Los’s and DWash’s play. They are good as any ILB duo in the NFL.

  25. By uptownbear602 on Oct 17, 2013 | Reply


    I agree with your point on Minter. If he were better than the options we’ve been playing he would have been starting already.On all points actually except one.

    One game does not a seaseon make.

  26. By eric on Oct 17, 2013 | Reply

    I hope we can keep him.He has always been a really good play-maker…and I hope this time we keep him.

  27. By Cautiously Optimistic on Oct 17, 2013 | Reply

    Darren –

    I’m late to the party, but how many plays in regular season has Minter been on the field for? I can’t recall seeing him make any plays in the regular season- although I do remember being impressed with some plays he made in the preseason.

    I say we work with Dansby. I was bummed when he left for Miami and stoked when he came back this year. He’s a good fit for the Cards at ILB. I think he may have lost a little bit of his ability to make a play outside the tackles and in the flats, but he’s still a force in the box and a pretty sneaky spy / middle zone sometimes as he’s shown at several points throughout the season already. I’m anxious to see Minter play more, but willing to let him learn and develop from the sidelines a bit, too. Dansby has always seemed like a good on-the-field leadership presence on tough downs. He was a part of some big stops in Bill Davis’ defense and he’s been part of some big stops in Bowles’, too. Off the field he’s been a pro. I’m sure that is something D Wash and Minter could both learn a bit from. D Wash makes the plays, but clearly he is still in need of a good mentor with this last off season’s screw up. There’s got to be a deal both the Cards and Dansby can make for this late model with a few good miles left on it.

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