"It's time for me to go get a ring," said Dansby, confirming his release to Cleveland.com's Mary Kay Cabot.
“We want to thank Karlos for his service to the Cleveland Browns during the past two seasons,” Browns executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown said in the team's release. “He was a dedicated, hard-working leader of our defense and we wish him the best as he continues his career.”
The move comes after the team announced it signed Demario Davis.
It looked like a home run when Cleveland signed Dansby to a four-year deal in 2014. The team needed a replacement for D'Qwell Jackson and found arguably the best inside linebacker on the free-agent market at the time.
Dansby's play dropped off a bit in 2014, but that was always to be expected when he left a loaded Arizona Cardinals defense, which was then led by defensive coordinator Todd Bowles.
He registered 93 combined tackles and an interception in his first year with the Browns, and last season, he led the team in tackles (108) and interceptions (three). Still, some fans might look at Dansby's time as a disappointment, but as Cleveland.com's Chris Fedor argued, he could only do so much given the turmoil in the organization:
You're right. Dansby was responsible for the terrible record. I thought it was horrible ownership, coaching, etc. https://t.co/djp23H6lSi— Chris Fedor (@ChrisFedor) March 16, 2016
While he'll turn 35 in November, Dansby should have some suitors on the open market. ESPN's Field Yates highlighted how consistent he has been throughout his career:
Appeal of new FA LB Karlos Dansby: has missed just 12 games in 12 seasons, averaged 100.7 tackles/year. 78 combined sacks/FF/INT in career.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) March 16, 2016
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel's Omar Kelly threw out one possible landing spot:
I realize Karlos Dansby has been released, but I highly doubt he'd want to play for Miami after leaving Browns. He will go back to Arizona— Omar Kelly (@OmarKelly) March 16, 2016
Dansby might have his eyes on another organization, telling Cabot, "I'm sure the [Cincinnati] Bengals are licking their chops right now."
While the 12-year veteran could've helped the Browns in 2016, his departure is the best move for the team since playoff contention will likely be unattainable next year. Cutting Dansby will result in a $3.5 million salary-cap savings this offseason, per OvertheCap.com.
Especially after losing offensive linemen Alex Mack and Mitchell Schwartz, wide receiver Travis Benjamin and safety Tashaun Gipson in free agency, any hope of Cleveland winning in the short term went out the door. With that in mind, high-priced veterans such as Dansby are surplus to the team's requirements.