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Karlos Dansby the key to Miami's offseason?

With Dansby now having officially confirmed just after midnight on ESPN  that he'll be in Miami on Friday for his first free agency visit of 2010, this is a good time to share why I think the Karlos Dansby sweepstakes should be what all Dolphin fans are watching. In a nut shell, what happens with Karlos will affect what the Dolphins do in the rest of free agency and - even more importantly - in the draft.

Allow me a minute to explain.

As far along as this franchise has come since 2007, they have many needs. They need outside linebacker help. They need inside linebacker help. They need a nose tackle. They need a receiver. And they could really use an upgrade at free safety. Are all of those statements fair to say?

If the Dolphins can sign Karlos Dansby, this would free up the Dolphins to use their draft picks on their many other needs. I'm not a big fan of the inside linebackers available in the draft. Rolando McClain is the top inside linebacker (it's questionable whether or not Sean Weatherspoon would be viewed as a 3-4 ILB by this particular front office). But if the Dolphins don't spend the 12th pick on him - and I'm not sold on the idea that he's worth it right now - it'll be hard to find an upgrade for this team's inside backers. But it's clear this team needs more production out of that position. Jeff Ireland even said so himself.

So if the Dolphins are able to land Dansby, they can then focus on the outside linebacker, nose tackle, receiver, and safety positions in the draft. I really like the depth of the outside linebackers in this draft. So they don't have to spend the #12 pick on any of those. That would leave nose tackle, free safety, or receiver as the top priority with the 12th pick - with many good options available. Guys like Dan Williams and Earl Thomas will be available at #12. Coupled with Dansby, either of those two would instantly upgrade this defense.

But if the Dolphins don't sign Dansby, where do they turn to upgrade their inside linebackers? McClain would clearly be a serious contender with the 12th pick, assuming he performs well as his Pro Day workout. But that would then leave so many more holes to fill for this team in the draft.

Here's the question to ponder right now. Can the Dolphins improve their team this offseason as much without Dansby as they could with him? No - not even close.

And that's why Karlos is the key. I'm not saying they should offer crazy money. But make a fair market value offer to him and then impress him if/when he comes to visit. Talk about how he'd instantly be the centerpiece of this defensive front seven. And let him sit and talk with Bill Parcells for a while. It's clear from hearing him speak that Dansby as a ton of respect for Parcells. Use that to our advantage and bring in the play-making inside linebacker this defense needs.

Later on today when Dansby is in Davie at the Dolphins' facility, this front office has to do whatever it takes to prevent him from leaving. It's that simple. If Karlos leaves Miami without a contract, I have a feeling that he won't be back. Other suitors will be reaching out all day - especially the Redskins if they are unable to land Julius Peppers (and it's looking like Chicago is the favorite now for Peppers). Washington has seemingly unlimited money and will be aggressive. So I'm urging Bill Parcells and Jeff Ireland to do whatever it takes to prevent Dansby from leaving without a deal. And if they need any help restraining Dansby, I'm sure we could wrangle up a couple hundred Dolphin fans who will sacrifice their bodies for this purpose.