Several sources have come out in the past few days (See Mike Garafalo of nj.com on Twitter or the nypost.com) saying that Karlos Dansby is looking for about $30 million guaranteed…Forgive me for a moment, while I recognize that Dansby is looking to hear the “cha-chang” of coin as he enters the market as a free agent in his prime, the $30 million number definitely scares me (and I hope it scares Jerry Reese too).
$30 million is a lot of cash to give a guy who would be asked to transition from the 3-4 defense to a traditional 4-3 alignment; better yet, Dansby is coming off of a season in which he posted just one sack, one forced fumble, and one interception. After being franchised twice by the Cardinals, Dansby is obviously highly-regarded. Dansby’s career numbers (25.5 sacks, 12 forced fumbles, 10 interceptions and an average of 92.5 tackles per year) are impressive, but I am not sure Dansby is a guy that other team’s game-plan for and I am not sure the G-men should open the vault and pay Dansby upward of $30 million guaranteed (especially given the uncertainty of the current CBA negotiations between the NFL and the NFLPA).
Dansby is a very good player, but he is not an elite defensive football player worthy of $30 million duckets + big annual salaries. The Giants are still feeling the free agent burn of 2009 (after forking over a pile of guaranteed money to Christ Canty, Michael Boley, and Rocky Bernard, all said and told, about $27 million for signing bonuses). Bernard likely will be a cap casualty while Jerry Reese and company are holding out hope that a healthy, adjusted Canty and Boley show strong in year two.
Championship teams are built through the draft, by locking up good young talent early, and through selective participation in free agency. The Giants have holes to fill, but I hope Jerry Reese will think twice before handing over $30 million, guaranteed, to one player who may or may not be able to be effective in the Giants 4-3 defense. Call me skeptical, but adding Dansby alone will not cure all of the Giants defensive problems, and for any player to justify receiving $30 million guaranteed, that player has to be a leader, a play-maker, a pro-bowler, and a flat out difference maker for years to come. This off-season will is filled with Giants questions and options for Jerry Reese, Tom Coughlin, and the rest of the organization to consider. I only hope that Dansby is one of many scenarios that Jerry Reese is looking at to solve the Giants defensive issues for 2010 and beyond.