Source: Dolphins trying to trade linebackers Ellerbe, Wheeler
Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler were two of Miami’s big free-agent acquisitions in 2013.
Two years later at the start of the free-agent signing period, both linebackers are on the trading block.
A source told NFL on FOX that the Dolphins are trying to deal Ellerbe and Wheeler before the league’s calendar year begins at 4 p.m. ET Tuesday. If unable to find a suitor, Miami is expected to release both players to clear salary-cap space.
Ellerbe, 29, was signed away from Baltimore with a five-year, $34.75 million contract that included $14 million in guaranteed money. After logging 101 tackles in his first season in Miami, Ellerbe missed almost the entire 2014 campaign after suffering a hip injury in the opener against New England. The Dolphins would save $8.45 million under the cap by releasing Ellerbe with a post-June 1 designation.
Wheeler’s release as a post-June 1 cut would clear another $3 million. Wheeler signed a five-year, $26 million contract that included $13 million guaranteed. Wheeler, though, was used only as a part-time player in 2014.
The cap space created will likely go toward the signing of free-agent defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who reportedly has agreed to a record six-year, $114 million deal with Miami that will be inked after the signing period begins.