Share this article

print logo

Bills may add Dansby to linebacking corps

The Buffalo Bills considered adding Karlos Dansby on Tuesday to a linebacking corps in need of some reinforcements.

Dansby, 31, who was a quality starter for the Miami Dolphins the last three seasons, visited One Bills Drive, the team confirmed. Dansby was released in March because the Dolphins jumped at the chance to get younger and – they think – better. Miami signed 27-year-old Dannell Ellerbe from Baltimore to replace Dansby.

Buffalo has two young, developing players slotted to start inside in a 3-4 scheme in Nigel Bradham and Kelvin Sheppard. The Bills’ depth behind those two is suspect. Little-used third-year veteran Chris White might be the best option.

Their depth behind outside starters Mario Williams and Manny Lawson is questionable. Fourth-year backup Arthur Moats might be the best current option behind Lawson.

Dansby did a good job in run defense for a Miami defense that ranked in the top 13 against the run each of the last three seasons. He did a solid job against the pass, as well. Dansby played 98 percent of the snaps for Miami last season, and he revealed he played through a torn biceps injury.

The Dolphins cut him loose because he was scheduled to count $8.7 million against the salary cap this season. Another factor was he did not make a lot of big plays. He led Miami with 133 tackles last season, but he did not force or recover any fumbles. Miami signed Dansby in 2010 to a five-year, $43 million contract, with $22 million guaranteed.

Dansby will command a lot less now, because he turns 32 in November. Dansby visited Cincinnati on April 9, but the Bengals opted to sign Pittsburgh free agent James Harrison on Tuesday to a modest, two-year deal. Harrison turns 35 in May.

If Dansby joined the Bills, he would take over a starting inside spot and likely would assume the third-down coverage linebacker role that Nick Barnett filled last season. He also could fill in outside.

Dansby is durable. He has missed only eight games in nine NFL seasons. Arizona drafted him in 2004 in the second round.

The Bills are expected to consider an outside linebacker in the draft, regardless of whether they sign Dansby.

Outside linebackers who might be available in the third round include Southern Mississippi’s Jamie Collins, who was one of the 30 prospects to visit the Bills this month. He’s a 6-foot-3, 249-pounder.

Third or fourth rounders include Ohio State’s John Simon and Connecticut’s Trevardo Williams.

Third-day picks include Florida’s Lerentee McCray, a strong-side option, Florida State’s Brandon Jenkins, an edge rusher coming off a Lis Franc foot injury, and Texas A&M’s Sean Porter, weak-side coverage linebacker.