Getty Images

Will The Bengals Finally Land Dansby?

They have always liked the durable, playmaking linebacker.

Wikipedia thinks Karlos Dansby is a Bengal. Could the team be far behind?

The versatile Dansby, released last week by the Cleveland Browns before finishing up a four-year, $24 million contract, is in Cincinnati today visiting the Bengals, who have long been captivated by the linebacker's array of talents. The world's free online encyclopedia seems to be captivated by the idea of Dansby as a Bengal. On his page at under his picture, Dansby is listed as being a member of the Cincinnati Bengals, but he doesn't yet have a number.

NFL scoopmeister Adam Schefter tweeted this morning that "Dansby is visiting the Bengals today, per source." Cognizant of the Bengals' interest when he was released by the Browns March 16, the former Auburn standout told the Cleveland Plain Dealer, "I'm sure the Bengals are licking their chops."

There's a reason for being so sure. The Bengals were interested in Dansby (6-3, 251) when he was a free agent in 2010 and possibly again in 2013. In 2010, he was coming off six successful seasons with the Arizona Cardinals. He subsequently signed with the Miami Dolphins on March 5, agreeing to a five-year, $43 million contract with $22 million guaranteed, making it the richest deal for an inside linebacker in NFL history at that time (Patrick Willis later signed a five-year, $50 million contract with the 49ers May 4 of that year).

Dansby was second-team All-Pro when he went back to Arizona in 2013 for one season. That year, the Bengals signed linebacker James Harrison, who fits the aging but still productive star-type the Bengals have gone after previously -- something that Dansby has become in the twilight of his stellar career. While Harrison and Dansby were both thought to be in consideration for the Bengals in 2013, some believed the Bengals were bluffing their interest in Dansby and using it as leverage to sign Harrison to a lesser deal.

Dansby joined the Browns in 2014. Even late in his career, he is a tackle machine who fills up the stat sheet because of his success in pass coverage. He will be a lot cheaper this time around at age 34, but it would be a surprise if the Bengals come to terms with him. If the playmaking Dansby becomes a Bengal, safety Reggie Nelson is all but a goner. The fact the Bengals believe that they have enough money to entertain the idea of acquiring Dansby's services sheds positive light on their ability to pay Nelson should the Dansby option fall through.

The Bengals have both linebacker and secondary needs. They have addressed each position area during free-agency. But much is still uncertain. The linebacker corps will be without Vontaze Burfict the first three games of 2016 while he serves an NFL suspension. Nelson and the Bengals have expressed mutual interest in staying together but he remains unsigned. Now, his future could be tied to Dansby's

Dansby, a dynamic and durable player, started every game for the Browns last season totaling 108 tackles, six passes defensed, three interceptions (two returned for touchdowns), two forced fumbles, but no sacks for the first time in his NFL career. It was his sixth season with at least 100 tackles and the ninth year in a row he posted at least 93.

His career totals: 1,208 tackles, 69 passes defensed, 41 sacks, 19 interceptions, 18 forced fumbles, 10 fumble recoveries and six interceptions returned for touchdowns. Four times in his career he has had at least four sacks, one interception, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. He has had at least four sacks, one pick, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and one touchdown in a season twice.

This past year was the sixth time in Dansby's 12 seasons that he played in every game. He has missed just four games since 2010, representing the kind of durability and productivity the Bengals covet. The mitigating factors are he turns 35 Nov. 3 and the Bengals don't have a ton of money to throw around after signing several of their own free-agents.

Bengals Insider Top Stories