Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Former AFC East linebackers still unsigned
By James Walker
Last season, linebacker Karlos Dansby was a staple of the Miami Dolphins' defense. Nick Barnett was the Buffalo Bills' leading tackler in 2012, and linebackers Bart Scott and Calvin Pace provided toughness and a veteran presence from the New York Jets.
But none of these linebackers have found work after being released from their respective teams.
It's been a rough start to free agency for many former AFC East linebackers. More than two weeks have past, and players such as Dansby, Barnett, Scott and Pace have yet to find work after being cut. All four played significant roles with their former AFC East teams in 2012 but were victims of circumstance.
Dansby was cut after the Dolphins signed former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Dannell Ellerbe in free agency. It was a surprising move for Dansby, who recorded 134 tackles last season and fully expected to return in 2013. Dansby is a productive player, but he hit the open market during free agency. Teams have to do last-minute homework on Dansby and determine his value.
Barnett recorded a team-high 112 tackles for the Bills last season. But those numbers were somewhat deceiving. Buffalo was 31st against the run in 2012. The Bills were often pushed around and Barnett made a lot of his tackles 7 yards down the field.
Scott and Pace are both linebackers over 30 years old. They can help a team in a limited role. Keep an eye on the Bills and new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine. He coached Scott and Pace in New York and may want one of these veterans to join Buffalo and help mentor the younger players and teach the system.