Aggressive Miami lands LB Dannell Ellerbe

The Miami Dolphins are not playing any games in free agency.

About an hour after securing the best offensive free agent in receiver Mike Wallace, the Dolphins landed one of the top defensive free agents in former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Dannell Ellerbe. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports Ellerbe agreed to a five-year, $35 million contract with Miami.

The Dolphins are the clear winners in Day 1 of free agency. They fixed their biggest need by landing a No. 1 receiver and deep threat with Wallace, and signed Ellerbe, who is a physical, playmaking linebacker.

Did the Dolphins really need to add linebacker help in free agency this year? Not necessarily. But Miami has the money to spend and general manager Jeff Ireland is certainly wheeling and dealing.

The Dolphins already have a solid linebacker group of Karlos Dansby, Kevin Burnett and Koa Misi. Ellerbe adds youth and provides the Dolphins the flexibility to trade or release Dansby or Burnett, both now in their early 30s.

Miami finished 7-9 in 2012 and has tremendous resources this offseason, which is all about closing the gap with the reigning AFC champion New England Patriots. With Wallace and Ellerbe, the Dolphins are doing a very good job of closing that gap with New England on the first day of free agency.