NFL free agency: Miami Dolphins signs Mike Wallace from Pittsburgh and Baltimore's Dannell Ellerbe
By Paul Higham Twitter: @SkySportsPaulH. Last Updated: 16/03/13 3:51pm
Mike Wallace: Signed big deal with Miami
The Miami Dolphins have made a huge splash in the free agency market by signing wide receiver Mike Wallace and linebacker Dannell Ellerbe for a combined $100m.
Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin is determined to make his team serious contenders next season, and with huge salary cap space they wasted no time by handing over some of their money to bring in two big players.
Wallace joins from the Pittsburgh Steelers where he became one of the best deep-threat receivers in the league due to his blistering speed, and he was signed on a five-year deal worth $60m.
After already locking down Brian Hartline to a new contract, Miami have now added a serious deep threat to the weapons available for second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill to go to war with.
"We are pleased to reach an agreement with Mike Wallace," Miami general manager Jeff Ireland said in a statement. "He has a unique skill set which we believe will be a welcomed addition to our offense. We are looking forward to his contributions to the team."
Wallace scored 32 touchdowns in his four seasons in Pittsburgh, and his impressive 17.2 yards per catch illustrate his big-play ability and skills required to score from almost anywhere at any time.
With also Davone Bess in the mix, it gives Miami a strong line-up of receivers, which just now needs a big tight end added to the mix - the team tried for Tennessee's Jared Cook but lost out to St Louis.
More of a surprise than Wallace is the decision of Ellerbe to move to Miami from the Super Bowl champions - who are now rapidly running out of linebackers in their title-winning defence.
Dannell Ellerbe leaving the champs for Miami
Ray Lewis retired and Paul Kruger moved to Cleveland, but Baltimore had hoped to keep hold of Ellerbe and receiver Anquan Boldin was traded away to make some room on their salary cap.
However, the two sides were unable to come up with an agreement financially and the fourth-year man decided to cash-in with the bigger offer from the Dolphins.
Miami is reported to have handed Ellerbe a five-year deal worth $35m in recognition of the effect he had when stepping in for the injured Lewis last season.
The four-year veteran made a career-best 92 tackles and 4.5 sacks and helped turn the struggling ravens defence back into the famed mean unit that eventually went on to lift the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
Almost as soon as the deal was agreed with Ellerbe the Dolphins then reportedly cut ties with senior linebacker Karlos Dansby after he refused to restructure his current contract.