Dolphins sign LB Philip Wheeler to multi-year deal
The Miami Dolphins seem to be actively pursuing putting together a younger, upgraded team for the 2013 season, and in the process taking over that current identity held in the AFC East by the New England Patriots.
Earlier today, the Miami Dolphins kicked off the start of free agency by making a successful swipe for Mike Wallace, reeling in the former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver with a 5-year contract worth $65 million. Then the team went on to re- sign their own free agent safety Chris Clemons to a one-year deal. Dannell Ellerbe was another highlight of the Miami Dolphins’ busy day in adding new pieces to the roster. The Miami Dolphins swiped linebacker Dannell Ellerbe from under the Baltimore Ravens’ for a 5-year contract worth $35 million.
The Oakland Raiders lost another linebacker to free agency, with only 2012 draft 4th round pick Miles Burris returning from the group. That is unless second year linebacker Rolando McClain, who is on his way out of the door, is brought under consideration.
Philip Wheeler’s contract is also significant, since the Miami Dolphins reportedly signed him onto a reported 5 years, $26 million contract with $13 million guaranteed. Those are some big numbers for the former league minimum linebacker.
The Indianapolis Colts originally selected Philip Wheeler in the third-round out of Georgia Tech during the 2008 draft. After four seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, Philip Wheeler signed for a single season with the Oakland Raiders. Philip Wheeler was considered the Oakland Raiders’ top defensive end in 2012, leading the team in tackles.
During five seasons in the league, Philip Wheeler has amassed 329 tackles, five sacks and four forced fumbles as a strong side linebacker.
Both Dannell Ellerbe and Phillip Wheeler will be a major improvement on the Miami Dolphins defense, which ranked No. 21 in the league during 2012 while giving up 356.8 yards per game.
The Miami Dolphins released veteran linebacker Karlos Danasby soon after signing Dannell Ellerbe. So it’s possible the team could be looking to break Koa Misi or Kevin Burnett duo who started 14 games in 2012 last season, after signing Phillip Wheeler. But it remains to be seen whether the 28-year-old Phillip Wheeler would be an upgrade over if Kevin Burnett was released or Koa Misi moved to defensive end next season.