The Arizona Cardinals are living proof that you don't need to back up the Brinks truck to acquire high-end talent in free agency.
Sometimes, it's about finding a young player who's ready to break out. And then there's how the Cardinals succeeded this offseason -- targeting two veterans other teams believed already had played their best football
Linebackers Karlos Dansby and John Abraham were wrecking balls in Sunday's 30-10 win over the St. Louis Rams. Dansby finished with eight tackles, one sack and a 23-yard interception return for a touchdown. Abraham had three sacks, a forced fumble and one safety.
Abraham now has 11 sacks in the past seven games. He's become an every-down linebacker, far surpassing any expectations. His contract -- spanning two years and $4.6 million -- looks like a bargain for the 13-year pro.
Dansby started his career with the Cardinals, then spent five productive seasons with the Dolphins. He returned to the desert on a one-year, $2.25 million deal. He's delivered a Pro Bowl-level season with 105 tackles, six sacks, three interceptions, one forced fumble and 17 passes defensed.
"It was a lot of disrespect in that situation and it motivated me, without a doubt," Dansby said of his Miami release, according to the Cardinals' official website. "And you can see the outcome from that."
The loss of Tyrann Mathieu to a serious knee injury takes a major player out of the equation for the NFL's No. 5-ranked defense. Dansby and Abraham will have to finish strong if Arizona has any hope of catching the San Francisco 49ers for a playoff spot.