Veteran linebacker Karlos Dansby has a new home. According to ESPN, the former Browns player has signed with the Cincinnati Bengals. Rumors had been spreading about the Bengals possibly acquiring the 34-year-old Dansby. Details of the contract haven’t been released, but the deal is done.
Dansby was invited to talk with the Bengals last week. Before Bengals brass thought of having him wear the Orange and Black, Dansby had mentioned playing for a contender. He was anxious to get a fresh start and have the chance to play for a team with Super Bowl potential. His first thoughts were of the division rival Bengals.
When Dansby was released Wednesday, he was remarkably candid with his remarks. He showed no shame, via the Plain Dealer.
“I’m sure the Bengals are licking their chops.”
The addition of Dansby will add depth to a Bengals linebacker corps that lost Emmanuel Lamur. Mike Zimmer and the Minnesota Vikings snatched up Lamur. With Vontaze Burfict being suspended for three games, Dansby will be a welcome signing. His presence will be felt immediately. Per the Cleveland Browns, Dansby led the Browns in tackles (108) and interceptions (3).
Dansby’s experience will be appreciated in the locker room. While with the Arizona Cardinals, Dansby had the chance to wear a championship ring. In Super Bowl XLIII, the Cardinals had taken a 23-20 lead, after trailing 20-7. With 2:37 remaining in the game, the Pittsburgh Steelers manufactured a 78-yard scoring drive and won 27-23.
Upon his release from the Browns, Dansby made another remark that just may come true.
“Let’s go get that ring.”
Despite being a productive linebacker for Cleveland, Dansby was given his walking papers, during free agency. The Browns have committed to a rebuilding schedule that hasn’t been kind to players over the age of thirty.
Browns Executive Vice President, Sashi Brown, had nothing but good things to say about Dansby.
“He was a dedicated, hard-working leader of our defense and we wish him the best as he continues his career.”
Cleveland is in the midst of a rebuild mode. New head coach Hue Jackson is slowly attempting to make the team a contender in the hard-hitting AFC North. Now that Dansby is part of the Bengals system, the rivalry may get interesting. Since 2010, the Battle of Ohio has been slanted in the Bengals favor. The Bengals hold an 8-4 advantage.
The day they cut Dansby, the Browns signed Demario Davis to a two-year contract worth a maximum of $8 million. Over $4 million of that cash is guaranteed. Dansby left Cleveland with two years left on the four-year, $24 million contract Cleveland gave him. The deal included $12 million guaranteed. The Browns insist the moves weren’t purely motivated by age, even though Davis is younger.
The age factor won’t keep Dansby from making a splash on the Bengals roster. Last season, Pro Football Focus had him ranked as No. 25 among linebackers. That ranking puts him higher than the Bengals recent addition Vincent Rey.
The signing of Dansby is the first outside endeavor, for the Bengals. The franchise has been feverishly trying to shore up the NFL’s No. 2 ranked scoring defense.
Dansby started 28 games in his two seasons, including all 16 in 2015, with the Browns. Cincinnati is his fourth team. Dansby has been a playmaker throughout his career. He’s accumulated 41 sacks and 19 interceptions over his 12 seasons.
Dansby is also coming off his fourth 100-tackle campaign in the last five seasons. Of his three interceptions last year, two were returned for touchdowns.
The Bengals are making serious statements about defense. Signing Karlos Dansby could be a move that gets them closer to that ring.
[Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images]