Karlos Dansby provides coverage upgrade to Bengals' linebacker corps
The deal: According to Ian Rapoport, the Bengals are set to sign former Browns linebacker Karlos Dansby after visiting with him last week.
What it means for Cincinnati: The 34-year-old Dansby provides a significant upgrade in coverage, where the Bengals had some issues at linebacker, particularly from 2015 snap-leader Vincent Rey (whom Cincinnati recently re-signed). Rey finished with the 83rd-ranked coverage grade out of 94 qualifying linebackers in 2015, while Dansby ranked sixth and has graded positively against the pass every season since PFF began grading games (2007). Opposing quarterbacks averaged a 65.3 passer rating on 47 throws into his coverage, the fourth-best mark at the position, while only two linebackers hauled in more interceptions than Dansby’s three.
His impact in run defense might be less noticeable, after seeing a sizeable dropoff there last season (75th-ranked run grade). Tackling was less of an issue (seven missed tackles, sixth-best tackling-efficiency rating among ILBs) than a decreased ability to shed blocks at the second level. Dansby maintained above-average grades there, however, for four straight seasons prior to 2015, so perhaps he’ll be closer to his average after a change in scenery.
What it means for Cleveland: Releasing Dansby cleared more than $3 million in cap space for the Browns, while the team added linebackers Demario Davis and Justin Tuggle in free agency. Davis is coming off of a slightly better year in run defense than Dansby had, but still graded negatively in every facet during his final season with the Jets.