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My Case For Karlos Dansby

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Over the next 3 weeks, I plan on doing a few of these kinds of posts.  Basically, I'm going to make my case for why I feel the Dolphins should sign certain free agents.

An I'm starting off with the guy who I most want to see in Miami - well, outside of CB Nnamdi Asomugha, but it's highly unlikely the Raiders let him test the open market.

It was last week when I made my case for how much I think Dolphin free agent LB Channing Crowder should look to get paid.  But he's probably going to want more than $4 to $5 million per year - and I just don't think he's worth it.  Enter Karlos Dansby.

Standing at 6'4, 250, Dansby certainly passes the Bill Parcells "eyeball test."  And he also has the three key attributes that Bill looks for in his players - big, smart, and fast.  Like Crowder, Dansby was a 3-down linebacker in Arizona and was the defensive signal caller.  Unlike Channing, Dansby makes plays.  Below are his career stats.  Notice the tackles for a loss, sacks, pass deflections, and interceptions.

Year Team Tks Solo Sck TFL FF FR Int PD
2004 Ari 54 38 5 2.5 1 3 1 5
2005 Ari 86 68 4 7 2 2 3 5
2006 Ari 82 69 8 4 2 1 0 3
2007 Ari 91 78 3.5 3.5 4 0 3 8
2008 Ari 119 95 4 8.5 2 3 2 5

You can clearly see that not only is Dansby a game changer and a play maker - something Crowder has never proven to be - he's also improving each and every season.  And at the age of 27, he is just now entering the prime of his career.

I think the biggest reason why the Dolphins really should go hard after Karlos is because of his versatility and how adding a player like Dansby can completely change the complexion of a defense - especially the defense that Paul Pasqualoni is running here in Miami.

Karlos can play both inside and outside.  But I think his skill set suits him more for inside linebacker.  He's a very good coverage linebacker - as shown in the Super Bowl when Dansby dropped back some plays to safety depth.  But he's also a terrific blitzer - and that's what would add tremendous unpredictability to Miami's 3-4 defense.  Imagine having Joey Porter and another pass-rusher outside with Dansby and (probably) Akin Ayodele inside.  Realistically, you would have 3 linebackers who could blitz on any particular play.  It would make Miami's defense far more unpredictable and more complex to gameplan for.  And it would give offensive linemen headaches, as they try to recognize where the pressure will be coming from on each play.

So why would the Cardinals let a young stud linebacker like Dansby hit the open market?  After all, they have $40 million in cap room and could simply slap the franchise tag on Dansby.  Truth be told, I don't know why Arizona would let Dansby test the market, either.  But what I do know is that Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic believes the Cards will allow Dansby to look around, writing:

ILB Karlos Dansby mellowed a bit from last week when he said he should be first up for a new deal this off-season. Dansby said he's confident he'll be returning. I'm not so sure. Free agency starts Feb. 27. At this late date, I'll be surprised if Dansby re-signs before entering the market. He'll want to see what he's worth to other teams.

And remember, it was last week when Dansby said this:

"[The Dolphins] definitely need a linebacker. My respect for Parcells is huge, man. Parcells came to me, I think it was my second year in the league, we're playing in Dallas and he told me I'm a heck of a player. That meant a lot for me coming from a legend like that. Definitely, I like South Beach."

The question then becomes what Karlos is looking for, financially speaking.  Odds are he'll seek a contract similar to what the Jets gave Dansby's former teammate, Calvin Pace, last offseason - 6 years, $42 million ($21 mil guaranteed).  Truth be told, Dansby is far more deserving of that kind of deal than Pace is.  And if the rumors are right and the Dolphins were heavily involved in the Pace race, then there's no reason why the Dolphins shouldn't offer Dansby $7 million per year.

But is that even enough for Dansby?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  But I wouldn't go too much higher and I think that $7.5 million per year should probably be Miami's ceiling.  After all, this regime doesn't believe in breaking the bank for one free agent.  But Dansby is special because he'd be a dynamic player in Miami's 3-4 defense and is a player whose best days are still ahead of him.

Your thoughts?