So does it make sense?
Why, yes, it does. The Patriots put a high value on guys who can play all three downs, as multiple as their defense is, and there’s very little question that Dansby can do that at a high level. Just look at the number of snaps he plays, according to Pro Football Focus’ numbers, and you see how rarely he comes off the field. Plus, he’s a heck of a playmaker, with 10 career picks, 25.5 career sacks (a big number for a primarily off-the-line ‘backer), and over 100 tackles in each of his last two seasons. His ability to take on and shed blocks would be huge, if New England wanted to put him next to Jerod Mayo inside the 3-4, and set that position up for years to come.
The Cardinals could franchise him again, but by doing it for the third consecutive year, they have to pay him the average of the top five 2009 salaries in the league, regardless of position. According to the NFLPA numbers that I have that would be the average of the 2009 money pulled down by Peyton Manning, Donovan McNabb, Julius Peppers, Matt Cassel and Tom Brady or … approximately $16.881 million. So chances are, he hits the open market, unless the Cardinals are completely committed to keeping him, and simply want to extend their exclusive negotiating window.
Now, one reason not to get too excited is that this is a player that’s clearly looking to cash in, so there’s a chance a bidding war gets touched off by contending teams desperate to fill a hole (the Giants come to mind). And with Vince Wilfork and Tom Brady to worry about, it might not be a good idea to get carried away in pursuit of Dansby.
At the prospect of an uncapped year, while he was under the tag last year, Dansby said to my buddy Tim Montemayor of Sporting News Radio, “Man, I can’t wait”. Around the same time, he told the Arizona Republic, “”It’s an uncapped year next year and I’m mentioned among the better
linebackers in the league as far as the guys who are going to be up
next year also. So why not show what I’ve got? I’m up
for the challenge. Make a splash, man.”
So it’d probably come down as much to finances as fit. But it’s an intriguing thought, anyway.