Every free agent class has its crown jewel; the player that every team covets. Last year Albert Haynesworth was king of the hill when several teams offered him upwards of $100 million.
However, this year, many of the top free agents are being affected by the likelihood of an uncapped year where players with less than six years of experience are going to end up as restricted free agents rather than unrestricted.
Add to that the fact that some of the other top names have all been given the franchise tag and it makes for a rather unappealing free agent market.
However, there are still a few players that stand out in the class, one of which is linebacker Karlos Dansby formerly of the Arizona Cardinals.
Dansby is a six-year veteran who is likely to be one of the premier defensive free agents this offseason. He is expected to pursue a big payday, meaning his days in Arizona are numbered (courtesy of the Bidwells). He has mentioned the Giants, Dolphins and Redskins as possible teams of interest.
Dansby played at middle linebacker in the 3-4 this past year, but also has experience playing at outside linebacker both in the NFL and in college with Auburn. His versatility is incredible. He can play in a 3-4 as blitzing middle linebacker and a run plugger or he play either OLB position in a 4-3.
Each year, Dansby has seen an improvement in his stats. He has over 100 tackles the last two years at MLB. Previously, he was a great pass rusher off the edge when the Cardinals used the 4-3. He had a season with eight sacks in 2006, and has a career 25.5 sacks.
Dansby is more than just a solid presence. He is vocal in the locker room, explosive on the field, and is a terrific talent. He has forced 12 fumbles and picked off 10 passes in his career. Injuries aren't a concern as Dansby has missed just six games in six seasons.
Dansby is also coming from a team that has been involved in play-off runs the past two years. He played a key role in Arizona's Super Bowl run in 2008, and scored the game-winning TD off an interception in this year's overtime victory in the wild-card over the Packers.
So he knows what it takes to win. He's a playmaker and a dominant one at that. He can play any linebacker position and adjusts his game accordingly. In short, there's not a lot to complain about.
Chances of coming to DC: With the Redskins debating a switch to the 3-4, Dansby would be a fantastic acquisition for a defense that may make use of different schemes this season. The 'Skins badly need an aggressive linebacker to complement the more conservative London Fletcher and Dansby fits the bill.
It is yet to be seen if the Redskins will continue their free-spending ways under new head coach Mike Shanahan, but if they are looking to pursue an impact defensive player, they wouldn't go wrong with Dansby.