Miami throws big bucks at Steelers WR
MIAMI – Receiver Mike Wallace was the Miami Dolphins’ No. 1 offseason target, and they moved quickly Tuesday to seal a deal.
Wallace agreed to a multiyear contract on the first day of NFL free agency, a person with knowledge of the agreement said. The person confirmed the deal to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because no signing had been announced Tuesday night.
In four years with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Wallace caught 32 touchdown passes. He gives the Dolphins the speedy deep threat they lacked last season, when their wideouts totaled three touchdowns.
Miami also reached a $35 million, five-year deal with inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, who helped the Baltimore Ravens win the Super Bowl last season.
Wallace upgrades an offense that ranked 27th last year while led by Ryan Tannehill, the first rookie quarterback to start all 16 games for the Dolphins. Wallace, a third-round draft pick in 2009, has averaged 17.2 yards per catch and has at least 60 receptions each of the past three years.
He joins a receiving corps that also includes Brian Hartline and Davone Bess. Miami re-signed Hartline on Friday to a five-year deal for nearly $31 million.
Coming off a fourth consecutive losing season, the Dolphins were well-positioned this offseason, with five of the first 82 draft picks and $30 million in cap space. Owner Stephen Ross said he was willing to spend whatever it takes to build a winner.
General manager Jeff Ireland, much-maligned by Miami fans for his moves in past offseasons, swung two big deals on the first day of free agency.
Ellerbe, 27, had a career-high 4 sacks last year for the Ravens. He was a huge presence in the middle of the Baltimore defense, even after middle linebacker Ray Lewis returned from a torn triceps.
With Lewis retiring, the Ravens hoped to sign Ellerbe to a long-term deal. But he proved to be too expensive for the Super Bowl champions, who faced tough salary-cap decisions.