After releasing linebacker Jasper Brinkley, the Arizona Cardinals it was reported on Friday that the team had interest in signing another veteran linebacker, D’Qwell Jackson, formerly of the Cleveland Browns. The decision to cut Brinkley saves the Cardinals $2 million in salary cap space.
Brinkley signed with the team last offseason but was never able to fully blossom in his role thanks to the reemergence of Karlos Dansby and the presence of rookie Kevin Minter. Brinkley had a total of 30 tackles last season for the Cardinals.
The Titans and Broncos have also reportedly contacted D’Qwell Jackson. Jackson would be an inside linebacker for Arizona, if the two are able to reach a deal. Last season, Jackson had 141 tackles and and 1 interception for the Browns.
The report that the Cardinals have interest in Jackson has many fans wondering about the future of Karlos Dansby, who had a superb 2013 season. Dansby totaled 122 tackles and 4 interceptions and looked like his younger self throughout last season.
Head Coach Bruce Arians said the Cardinals made a contract offer to Dansby shortly after the season ended, hinting that Arizona was interested in bringing the veteran back for another stint wit the team. Arians did not stop there, saying the Cardinals would be busy calling other free agents on March 8, the day that NFL teams can begin negotiating with free agents.
Clearly, the Cardinals are interested in meeting with potential candidates to solidify weak spots on the team. Also, it seems as if Dansby wants to test the waters of the free agent market.
Based on what we have seen from the Steve Keim and Bruce Arians era, the Cardinals will approach all contract negotiations with a take-it-or-leave-it approach. That said, we should know fairly quickly who the Cardinals are interested in signing relatively quickly.
The Cardinals feel that Dansby is a great leader on the defensive side of the ball and Arians has even said that Arizona would “love” to bring him back. With the cap space that was created by releasing Brinkley, Arizona has more flexibility to sign free agents, such as Jackson, if Dansby decides to take his talents elsewhere.