Still playing at a high level despite a torn biceps muscle last season, Dansby led the Dolphins with 134 tackles.
The problem was Dansby's age and a salary that was scheduled to count $8.575 million against the salary cap. In cutting Dansby, the Dolphins save $6.05 million in cash and $3.925 million in cap space. Due another $9 million in cash in 2014, Dansby no longer was in the Dolphins' long-term plans.
It will be interesting to see if Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome can turn the tables on Ireland, snatching up Dansby at a fraction of Ellerbe's cost. Although he has lost a step and become a liability in coverage, Dansby might be an upgrade in run support.
The Dolphins' swap of middle linebackers is a microcosm of the NFL's free agency conundrum. Today's savior becomes tomorrow's cap casualty.