MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland wasted no time trying to improve his roster with the start of free agency Tuesday afternoon. After signing the consensus top receiver available, Mike Wallace; Ireland struck again by signing linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, according to multiple reports.

Ellerbe played with the Baltimore Ravens the last few years and wasn’t high on the list of players the Dolphins were believed to be interested in as late as the past weekend.

According to’s Jason LaCanfora, Ellerbe received a contract for five years and $35 million.

Last season, Ellerbe had 92 total tackles, 4.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles in the regular season. He added 32 total tackles in the 2012 postseason.

Ellerbe was a possible replacement in the middle for the retiring Ray Lewis with the Ravens. He joins a full linebacking corps that includes Kevin Burnett and Karlos Dansby.

Given Dansby’s high salary cap number, the presence of Ellerbe may not be good news for Dansby either this year or next.

Then again, Ellerbe may be added as a linebacker to replace Koa Misi who would then be moved to defensive end.


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