Although the Arizona Cardinals were happy to get Karlos Dansby back last season and see him flourish, one NFL analyst says the team should be careful not to overpay when attempting to re-sign the 32-year-old linebacker this offseason.
Pete Prisco, senior NFL columnist for CBS Sports, joined Arizona Sports 98.7 FM's Dan Bickley Show with Vince Marotta on Thursday and said the Cardinals should only bring Dansby back at the right price.
"I don't like older players. I don't like paying older players. In large part, because you if pay older players, by the time you get to years three or two of that contract -- probably year three -- their best football is way behind them," Prisco said. "But he's an exception to the rule. I thought he played really well. He's looks like he played like a young man last year.
"So I would think that they would want him back, but at the right price. I mean if he moves on, that's why you put jars on the shelf, as they say. That's why you draft Kevin Minter and hope like heck that he maybe could step in and play. So, yeah, I get it. I know why they want him back. I would want him back, too. But that price could get out of control."
Prisco pointed to the case of a similar linebacker like D'Qwell Jackson, a 30-year-old defender who signed a four-year, $22 million contract with Indianapolis on Thursday. The columnist said he has "no doubt" that Dansby is a better player than the newest Colts linebacker.
After being cut by the Miami Dolphins, Dansby signed with Arizona last May for one year at $1.25 million and a $1 million signing bonus. The Auburn product rewarded the team's investment by ringing up 122 total tackles, 6.5 sacks and a career-high four interceptions, including two pick-sixes. Prisco currently ranks Dansby as the 24th-best free agent in the NFL.
Besides age, another reason the team shouldn't break its budget in re-signing Dansby, Prisco opined, is that inside linebackers aren't as essential to defenses in today's NFL as they used to be.
"Remember, he's just an inside linebacker. And on the value board in the National Football League, the inside linebacker position isn't a great need," he said. "If you look at pass rushers on the outside, corners on the outside, now the free safety -- with the way the game is played -- I think those are your value positions. You can get by with some guy at linebacker."