Did the Cardinals error in not pursuing Dansby harder?

The Cardinals knew what they had to do in order to retain linebacker Karlos Dansby at the start of free agency. Whichever team came hardest with the most cash was the one that would acquire Dansby’s services for the next however many seasons.

Yet when it came time to pony up, the Cards couldn’t (or wouldn’t?) match the five-year, $43 million contract that the Dolphins were offering. Thus the reason Dansby will be playing in South Beach next year with the Dolphins.

With Dansby gone, Arizona had to fill the void that was created at linebacker. So they recently signed aging loudmouth Joey Porter to a three-year, $17.5 million contract, with a max value of $24.5 million. If he reaches the max value of the contract, Porter will make just over $8 million a year from the Cardinals. Considering they could have had Dansby (a younger, more versatile and more productive linebacker) for $8.6 million a year, it’s a little bothersome that Arizona didn’t make a harder pitch to the 28-year-old.

Of course, Dansby will get $22 million in guaranteed money and the only way Porter gets $24.5 million is through incentives. That’s a big difference between the two contracts. Arizona could cut Porter in a year and save money on the back end, while Miami is stuck paying $22 million regardless of whether or not Dansby turns out to be a bust.

Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if Cardinals fans are a little peeved that their team just overpaid for Porter and couldn’t convince Dansby to stay. I realize Dansby may have had his hopes set on leaving Arizona no matter what, but money appeared to be the root of his motivation to sign and even though the Cardinals knew that, they still couldn’t (or wouldn’t?) pony up.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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