The Browns have reached an agreement to sign free agent linebacker Karlos Dansby, according to Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic (via Twitter). Dansby’s four-year deal with Cleveland will be worth a total of $24MM, with $10MM in the first year and $14MM in guaranteed money.
Although he’ll turn 33 in November, Dansby certainly didn’t show any signs of falling off in 2013, racking up 121 tackles, 6.5 sacks, and a career-high four interceptions, including two for touchdowns. The former 33rd overall pick also ranked fifth among inside linebackers, according to Pro Football Focus, grading exceptionally well in pass coverage. Dansby will replace D’Qwell Jackson at inside linebacker for the Browns, and receives a deal similar to the one Jackson signed in Indianapolis.
The Browns’ new-look defense under head coach Mike Pettine is starting to come into focus, with the team also expected to lock up hard-hitting safety Donte Whitner when free agency opens later today. When I ranked 2014’s top 25 free agents over the weekend, both Whitner and Dansby placed inside my top 20, at Nos. 17 and 19 respectively.
Mary Kay Cabot first reported earlier today that the Browns were expected to seriously pursue Dansby, while Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported that the Browns had emerged as “the team to beat” in the Dansby sweepstakes, with the Titans and Cardinals having fallen out of the running.
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