Linebacker Karlos Dansby signed a 1-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals on March 10, 2017 at the Cardinals training facility in Tempe.
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Shot Clock: NFL free agency moves, including Chandler Jones staying and Calais Campbell and Tony Jefferson likely leaving the Arizona Cardinals. Video: azcentral sports
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The Texans have traded quarterback Brock Osweiler and a 2018 second-round draft pick to the Browns, according to multiple reports. ESPN’s Adam Schefter first reported the news.
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Quarterback Tony Romo posted a message on Instagram to say goodbye to all the Dallas Cowboys fans who supported him during the course of his 13-year career.
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Washington Quarterback Kirk Cousins reportedly asked Dan Snyder to trade him, but ESPN’s Chris Mortensen is reporting Snyder told Cousins not to get his hopes up.
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Shot Clock: The beginning of the new NFL year, what the Cardinals’ chances are for keeping Calais Campbell and Tony Jefferson and who might make an impact around the league. Video: azcentral sports
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USA TODAY Sports’ Tom Pelissero fills you in on how the top quarterback prospects fared during Day 4 of the NFL Scouting Combine.
USA TODAY Sports
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Clemson QB Deshaun Watson said he could benefit from backing up a veteran when he enters the NFL. Video: Kent Somers/azcentral sports
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Quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw for 5,052 total and 41 TDs with 10 INTs in 2016 at Texas Tech. Video: Kent Somers/azcentral sports
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USA TODAY Sports’ Lorenzo Reyes gives insight as to which teams will be searching for a quarterback at the NFL Scouting Combine.
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John Ross, former wide receiver from the University of Washington, broke Chris Johnson’s 40-yard dash record at the NFL Combine.
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Washington receiver John Ross in 2016 was a second-team All-American and first-team All-Pac-12 standout with 81 catches for 1,150 yards and 17 TDs . Video: Kent Somers/azcentral sports
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USA TODAY Sports’ Lindsay H. Jones says that San Francisco 49ers GM John Lynch spoke very highly of a number of high-profile quarterback prospects.
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azcentral sports’ Jay Dieffenbach and Dan Bickley break down the NBA MVP race and a possible reunion in the Cardinals defensive backfield.
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Cardinals insider Kent Somers talks with GM Steve Keim about how the Cardinals conduct business at the NFL combine and how they will handle their free agents.
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Cardinals coach Bruce Arians discusses finding the team’s future quarterback in the draft.
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azcentral sports’ Jay Dieffenbach and Kent Somers discuss Cardinals free agency and Larry Fitzgerald’s reaction to an extra NFL preseason game. Video: azcentral sports
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USA TODAY Sports’ Nate Davis gives us his top five picks of the 2017 NFL draft.
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Not everyone is happy that ex-Cardinals WR Michael Floyd, who was waived by the Cardinals three days after an arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence, is a Super Bowl champion. Video: azcentral sports
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Arizona Cardinals’ Larry Fitzgerald skates for the first time with Arizona Coyotes’ Shane Doan. (Rob Schumacher/azcentral sports)
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Third time is the charm for former Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner, as he and four others were inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Feb. 4, 2017. Hannah Gaber/azcentral.com
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Atlanta and New England will face off in Houston after winning the NFC and AFC championships, respectively.
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Arizona Cardinals safety Tony Jefferson is also an impersonator, and, was once haunted by a ghost. Video: Michael Chow and David Wallace/azcentral sports
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Arizona Cardinals linebacker Kevin Minter sits down with Steve Benson of The Republic, and admits a weak spot for good food. Video: Michael Chow and David Wallace/azcentral sports
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Cardinals players reflect on the 2016 season as they clear out their lockers on Monday. Nick Oza/ azcentral sports
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Cardinals Insider Kent Somers says Bruce Arians is high on younger backups who got a chance to play last week. Michael Chow/azcentral sports
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Here’s a look at some of the top underclassmen planning on entering the 2017 NFL Draft.
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A time-lapse view from field level during the pre-game introductions for the Arizona Cardinals: Video: David Kadlubowski/azcentral sports
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Watch video of the Cardinals field rolling into University of Phoenix Stadium before the start of the first practice of the 2016 training camp. Video by Patrick Breen/azcentral sports
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Karlos Dansby discusses return to Cardinals
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When the Cardinals opened free agency last week by signing three players older than 30, the requisite jokes were made on social media about retirement communities, Wal-Mart greeters and keeping oxygen tanks on the sideline.
After the laughs faded, the core questions remained:
- What are the Cardinals thinking?
- Is this a sign that management is going all-in on winning this year, knowing it could be the last season for quarterback Carson Palmer and receiver Larry Fitzgerald?
- Is it money?
- Is it just that the older guys are better?
We don’t know for sure, since General Manager Steve Keim and coach Bruce Arians haven’t been available for comment, but the reasoning for skewing old in free agency is likely a combination of most of the above.
It’s certainly a departure from the way the Cardinals conducted business in free agency in the previous four seasons of the Keim/Arians regime.
In that period, the Cardinals signed 14 players from other teams in the first couple days of free agency. Only four of those had reached their 30th birthday by the start of their first season in Arizona.
This year there were three: kicker Phil Dawson, 42; linebacker Karlos Dansby, 35; and safety Antoine Bethea, who turns 33 this summer.
The reasons for signing those players differ in each case, so let’s take a look at them individually.
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He replaces Chandler Catanzaro, who had no bigger advocate the last three years than Arians. The coach stuck with Catanzaro through difficult times because Catanzaro’s physical talents were obvious.
What had to trouble the Cardinals was Catanzaro’s mental fragility, something that wasn’t helped by the long-snapping troubles last year.
The longer extra point obviously was rattling around in Catanzaro’s head, too. He missed nine of them in the last two years.
So the Cardinals elected not to extend the restricted tender to Catanzaro and replaced him with Dawson, who is 16 years older.
This move was based strictly on performance. The value of Dawson’s two-year deal is not yet known, but it’s likely substantially more than it would have taken to re-sign Catanzaro.
Dawson made 18 of 21 field goals last year, missing none from fewer than 40 yards. He’s made 53 of 55 extra points the last two years, a success rate of 96 percent. Catanzaro’s was 91 percent.
Dawson had just four touchbacks last season, but he attributed that to the 49ers’ strategy. Coaches asked him to place the ball in certain spots on most kickoffs. Four times he was allowed to boot the ball as deep as he could, he said. Those were the four touchbacks.
He was signed as a possible replacement for Tony Jefferson, who signed a four-year, $36 million deal with the Ravens.
Bethea’s three-year deal won’t be anyone near that. At 32, he’s seven years older than Jefferson and, most likely, not as good a player at this point.
So what led to Jefferson’s departure?
A stellar 2016 season, for one. Jefferson gambled on himself and won.
Looking back, the Cardinals would have been smart to sign Jefferson to a long-term deal a year ago, but they weren’t sure he was worth the money. Jefferson wasn’t particularly fast, and coaches thought he struggled in man coverage at times.
But Jefferson cut his body fat in the offseason, improved his pass coverage and remained a force against the run.
With big investments in two other defensive backs – Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu – the Cardinals weren’t in a position to take on another huge contract at that position.
So they signed Bethea at a cheaper price. Bethea had more than 100 tackles last season, and the Cardinals must figure he’s good enough to buy them the time needed to find and develop a young safety.
The Cardinals were established in 1898, and Dansby is the first player to have three different stints with the team.
He realized the absurdity of that, laughing and shaking his head at the beginning of a news conference last Friday.
So why bring Dansby back?
Mostly because Kevin Minter, the starter the previous two years, never played up to the expectations the team had for its second-round pick in the 2013 draft.
Minter was solid, for lack of a better word. He’s smart and tough but never impacted the game as much as coaches hoped.
Can Dansby at age 35?
We’re about to find out. Dansby is fastidious when it comes to taking care of his body. In his previous stint with the team in 2013, Dansby brought his own food into the team facility, something several other players started copying. Dansby is in great shape and vows this will not be his last year.
But it’s rare for a player to be better at 35 than he is at 30. If he can stay healthy, Dansby can compensate with experience. He’s played inside linebacker in every style of defense, and there is not much an offense can do that will surprise him.
He also has charisma, and if he’s on the field, teammates are going to follow him.
But at 35, can he stay on the field?