Dolphins Game Changing Offseason Moves: A play maker at inside linebacker

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It's amazing to me that I am making the third post in this series and am yet to touch on the largest free agent contract the Dolphins have handed out in a long time. But that just goes to show you how potentially amazing this offseason has a chance of becoming once these new guys hit the field.

So let's think back - back to midnight of March 5. Many of us were up late hanging out right here discussing all of the rumors and reports about which free agent was visiting each team. Less than 24 hours later, the Dolphins handed out the largest inside linebacker contract in history (until Patrick Willis recently broke that record) when they signed Karlos Dansby to a 5 year, $43 million deal.

Just like that, the Dolphins added a play-making inside linebacker the likes of which this franchise has not seen in a long, long time.

One glance at Dansby's numbers and you'll see what I mean. Over the past four seasons, Karlos is averaging the following stat line: 102 tackles (83 solo), 4 sacks, 2 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, 6 tackles for a loss, and 5 pass deflections.

Channing Crowder doesn't even come close to those numbers. In fact, his 14 career tackles for a loss is one fewer than Dansby has in just his last two seasons. And I don't need to point out how Crowder's insanely disappointing sack and interception numbers.

You can even go back to Zach Thomas and fail to find similar "play-making" statistics to those of Dansby. Thomas, for all his greatness as a guy who could read and react to a play and make the tackle, still wasn't the kind of play maker that Dansby is going to be here in Miami. While Zach did average 7 tackles for loss per season during his 12 years in Miami, he averaged less than 1.5 interceptions, just over 1 forced fumble per season, and only had 19.5 sacks as a Dolphin.

Granted, Zach wasn't asked to rush the passer often. But that's exactly my point. Karlos Dansby will bring to this defense an element of which we have not seen. His best comparison to a semi-recent Dolphin is probably Bryan Cox...but with his sanity.

Dansby's versatility is exactly what Mike Nolan loves. The Dolphins will be running a "tweaked" defense in 2010 that is naturally more fluid. And it's going to be Dansby who is the key cog in that front seven. I expect his versatility to be the reason Nolan's revamped defense will work.

And for $43 million, we shouldn't expect anything less.

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