The Dolphins have added up-and-coming linebacker Dannell Ellerbe to the fold, according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun and that raises interesting questions for the Dolphins.
Terms of the deal have not been announced but it is unlikely Ellerbe agreed to a deal that would make him a backup.
[Update: I'm told the deal is for five years and $34.75 million. That is starter money.]
So yes, it is good the team is adding younger, faster, players with playmaking potential.
But ... The Dolphins have a solid linebacker corps in Karlos Dansby, Kevin Burnett and Koa Misi.
So is one of them on the outs?
Salguero answer: You betcha!
It won't be Misi. Even if the team moves him to defensive end he remains on the team.
The same would not be said if the Dolphins plan to play Ellerbe in the middle of their defense, which is where he made his mark with Baltimore.
Ellerbe had 92 tackles and 4.5 sacks for the Ravens in 2012. He's only 27 years old.
That seems to make Dansby expendable if the Dolphins wish to save money as well as cap space. Dansby is scheduled to cost Miami $8.575 million in cap space in 2013. If the club cuts him, it can save $6.05 million in cash and $3.925 million in cap space.
The club would also save $9 million in cash next year because that is what Dansby would be scheduled to make in base salary. Dansby's cap number in 2014 is scheduled to be $11.575 million.
The Dolphins might also ask Dansby to take a paycut, but that's also doubtful.
If Dansby, 31, is on the outs, it shows the dangers of unrestricted free agency. He came to the Dolphins in 2010 as the savior of the defense. He came the same year that Brandon Marshall came as the savior of the offense.
Marshall has since been traded. Dansby might be on the outs.
I suppose the Dolphins could decide Burnett is expendable in favor of Ellerbe. This is less likely because Ellerbe doesn't play strongside linebacker. But this also lead to a cap savings. If the Dolphins dump Burnett, they would save $3.2 million against the cap and $4.35 million in actual cash this year.
Again, this is the lesser likelihood.
It is possible the Dolphins are trying to get younger, cheaper and have someone that made plays for the Ravens last year when pressed into service.