Sports Outside the Beltway

Miami Dolphins sign LB Karlos Dansby and QB Chad Pennington

Tis the season for free agent signings in the NFL. From the Miami Herald-

When the Dolphins decided to fly linebacker Karlos Dansby into South Florida on the first day of free agency Friday, they had also already made another decision: They weren’t going to let him leave. Not without signing a contract.

Just don’t expect Dansby to call the police. This isn’t exactly a hostage situation.Dansby

By early Saturday, Dansby plans to ink a monster five-year deal worth $43 million that will pay him $22 million guaranteed. He will average a salary of $9 million per year over the first three years of the contract, sources said Friday night.

Dansby, who will be one of the league’s top three highest paid linebackers, becomes the new central figure of a Dolphins defense that underwent the next big step of an ongoing makeover Friday.

On the same day Dansby agreed to terms, deciding to forgo visits with other potential suitors to sign with Miami, the Dolphins also waived three defensive starters from 2009: Safety Gibril Wilson, inside linebacker Akin Ayodele and outside linebacker Joey Porter.

As I see it, Dansby replacing Porter is a big improvement. Dansby is as good or better, younger, and without JP’s baggage. Miami still needs more linebacking help at April’s NFL draft.

Now for Pennington-

Despite the opportunity to leave South Florida for a more likely shot at a starting job, quarterback Chad Pennington will instead stay with the Dolphins after reaching a one-year deal Friday that will pay him $2.5 million.

The deal would have been done sooner, but the sides needed to work toward a compromise, since Pennington wanted a no-trade clause in his contract that Miami wasn’t willing to allow.

Now, if he is traded, he will be paid an additional amount worth nearly $1.5 million, according to a source close to Pennington.

I like the Pennington signing but see him as a backup not a starter like he was in 2008. Miami’s future lay with Chad Henne at Quarterback.

Now what will Miami do with Pat White and Tyler Thigpen? I expect Miami to trade Thigpen or release even though I think White, who was a 2nd round 2009 draft pick, isn’t going to pan out in the NFL. White has yet to complete an NFL pass and he’s had chances. 3rd stringers aren’t much of a factor in the NFL and the Dolphins may be able to get a draft pick out of Thigpen.

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