2014 NFL free agency: What we know so far about the Arizona Cardinals and Karlos Dansby

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Here is what we know...at least what has been said by the team and Dansby himself.

As the NFL and Arizona Cardinals gear up for the commencement of free agency (March 11 will be the first day to sign contracts and beginning March 8 teams may contact and negotiate with player agents), one question that Arizona fans have is why Karlos Dansby has not yet re-signed and whether or not he will leave for more money.

Here is what we know have heard publicly.

Bruce Arians said on the radio last week that the team has already offered Karlos Dansby a contract -- it was the day after the season was over.

Fox Sports 910's Mike Jurecki reported that the contract offer was a multi-year deal.

General manager Steve Keim has been on the record as saying he has been "aggressive" in trying to retain his team's own free agents, despite the fact that only Dave Zastudil and practice squad players that could be offered future contracts have signed with the team.

He also emphasized that Dansby "knows how important he is" to the Cardinals.

Arians said that Dansby is "a major priority" and that they "would love to have him back."

At the same time, Keim said that "it takes two sides" to get a deal done, and that "guys need to show a little unselfishness,' when asked specifically about Dansby. At the same time, Keim said, "I think we'll work together over the next several weeks to a common understanding."

As for Dansby himself, he has said publicly that he "definitely" expects to be with the Cardinals in 2014. He added that he "want[s] to be in a winning situation."

However, another report has him saying he's going to play  "for what I'm worth."

He did take a steep discount to play for Arizona and played like one of the best linebackers in the league.

There was also another statement he made that put a little bit of pressure on the team. "We don't have long here, so I guess we'll get to talking and try to hammer something out and see how it goes," he said on national radio.

What does this all mean?

It means the Cardinals made him a multi-year contract offer. It wasn't good enough for Dansby, so he hasn't signed.

He sounds like a man who would prefer to stay, but really would not mind playing for another winner for more money.

Arizona clearly bid less than Dansby believes he is worth, as Keim alluded to selfishness.

Here is where things get tricky. Dansby has shown he is willing to go follow the money. He has done it before. And, honestly, there is no shame in that. Football players have such a small window in which to make their money, you chase every dollar you can. Teams make ungodly amounts of money on the backs of the players, so asking them to be unselfish is a bit out of place. If there is an honest effort to put together a championship team, then you can play that card. However, in the end, the team will make a ton of money win or lose, and the player will be taking less if he stays.

By all accounts, Keim has not shown he can be good in contract negotiations. Last year's signings showed he could get good value in a buyer's market. He made offers and left them on the table for the players to accept. We have not seen him (at least from what has been made know) to be a good negotiator. Being shrewd can ultimately price yourself out of impact players. Dansby was a dynamic player in 2013.

Dansby paired with Washington is an elite combination. The team is trying to make their defense elite. You have a better chance at that with Dansby there than with Kevin Minter, who may be a great player, but likely will not be as dynamic in all facets -- in coverage, in tackling and in pressuring the quarterback.

If this team is serious about making a run right now for a championship, Dansby is a must. They must sign him. Dansby has to know that this situation is perfect for his skill set. He gets to make plays on a defense that could potentially be championship-caliber.

If Dansby ends up leaving for greener pastures -- more money on a winning team -- then it is a failure for all involved. The team needs to pay him what he is worth -- you won't get that sort of production out of just anyone. He needs to be willing to take a little less than his perceived worth (because his own perceived worth is monstrous).

Don't look for a bargain here. Compensate him fairly. Keep this defense intact. Be in a place to be able to contend for the division crown and, as a result, for a championship.

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