The Miami Dolphins landed a big fish on defense Tuesday to complement an earlier deal with wide receiver Mike Wallace. Miami reached an agreement on a five-year, $35 million contract with former Ravens linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, the Baltimore Sun reported.
With Ellerbe coming on board, linebacker Karlos Dansby was expendable, and the Dolphins released the 31-year-old veteran to save $8,575,000 against the salary cap, according to NFL.com. His cap number in 2014 is even higher -- $11,575,000.
On the first day when teams could negotiate with free agents, the Dolphins were one of the more active participants, particularly when it came to big-name players in Wallace, who left Pittsburgh for Miami, and Ellerbe.
The Dolphins also agreed to re-sign unrestricted free agent safety Chris Clemons to a one-year contract.
Ellerbe's reported deal would make him one of the NFL's highest-paid players at his position.
Considered one of the top linebackers available in free agency, Ellerbe finished the 2012 season with 89 tackles and 4.5 sacks in 13 regular-season games and 32 tackles and an interception in four playoff games for the Super Bowl winners. He took injured Ray Lewis' place in the middle while Lewis was sidelined during the season.
The Ravens' roster took an early hit in free agency Tuesday, losing Ellerbe and outside linebacker Paul Kruger, who is headed to Cleveland. Baltimore also traded wide receiver Anquan Boldin to San Francisco.
According to the Sun, the Ravens and Ellerbe negotiated throughout the day but failed to reach a deal.