The Cleveland Browns released veteran inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson earlier this offseason, and the locker room leader signed a lucrative four-year deal with the Indianapolis Colts after visiting with multiple teams. Jackson’s release saved them quite a bit of money, but it also left them precariously thin at inside linebacker and in the market for a top-notch player at the position.
It looks like the Browns have found their man, as the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that the Browns are now the “team to beat” for Dansby, and the Tennessee Titans and Arizona Cardinals even feel that they are out of the equation at this point. The Titans are desperate for linebacker help, and signing Dansby would be a huge upgrade for him. The Cardinals have been aggressive in their efforts to re-sign the top impending free agent LB, but they have been rebuffed each time by a veteran player dead-set on hitting the open market and snagging a robust payday.
There is little doubt in my mind that Dansby is a better player than Jackson, even if he is two years old. As long as the Browns don’t overpay him, this move should be a very good one. Dansby can blitz, plays the run hard, and he’s one of the best inside linebackers in coverage. He’s an upgrade over Jackson, and it’s clear that the Browns are doing whatever they can to make sweeping upgrades on defense. The question is, which safety will they get? And is Darrelle Revis really a possibility?