The Arizona Cardinals wanted to bring Karlos Dansby back, and Dansby himself had said he would like to return.
For the right price, of course.

As it turned out, Dansby was offered a contract he apparently couldn't refuse by the Cleveland Browns, signing a four-year, $24 million deal, with $14 million guaranteed.

It's a lot for a 32-year-old linebacker coming off a career season, and no one could blame the former second-round pick for taking it.

But that doesn't mean there wasn't some disappointment.

"He chased the money," Cardinals defensive lineman Darnell Dockett said Thursday. "I've got a lot of respect for our guy that left, I love him like a brother. But we were one or two pieces away from really making a lot of noise."

Dockett and Dansby were part of the same 2004 draft class that helped reshape the Cardinals roster. The two helped lead Arizona to Super Bowl XLIII and then the playoffs the following season, but the linebacker bolted for Miami the following offseason.

He returned to the Valley last season on a one-year deal, and tallied 122 tackles (114 solo) with 6.5 sacks, four interceptions and 19 passes defensed for a Cardinals team that finished sixth in the NFL in total defense and number one against the run.

Dockett is confident the Cardinals will be able to move on without Dansby, as he believes the coaching staff, front office and ownership will find players who can fill the void left by his departure. But that doesn't mean losing him doesn't sting.