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Dolphins working on restructures for Ellerbe, Wallace...might be able to keep both

The Miami Dolphins are working to restructure the contracts of both receiver Mike Wallace and Dannell Ellerbe and the success of such moves will determine the status of both players on the team's roster going forward.

"We're working through the process with both," a high-ranking team source told The Miami Herald today.

That may be very good news for a team that has undergone something of a talent purge the past two weeks to find a comfort zone in the NFL's $143 million salary cap.

The Dolphins have cut receivers Brandon Gibson and Brian Hartline, defensive tackle Randy Starks, linebacker Phillip Wheeler, cornerback Cortland Finnegan and restructured punter Brandon Fields in order to make room against the cap.

It is possible the team won't be able to match a tender offer by the Buffalo Bills for transition player Charles Clay, depending on the structure of that deal.

Despite that, the Dolphins could possibly end the talent bleed by keeping both or either Wallace and Ellerbe if restructures are successful.

Wallace told ESPN's Josina Anderson he would be amenable to a restructure but not "anything crazy" and not necessarily a pay cut. Obviously, Ellerbe's representation will eventually be contacted by the Dolphins on a possible restructure although it is unknown how much of a pay cut that would entail.

The Dolphins don't just want cap relief for this year. They're looking for cap relief for 2016 and 2017 when big contracts for center Mike Pouncey, quarterback Ryan Tannehill, and defensive end Olivier Vernon will be at the forefront of work to do for the team's salary cap team.

If the Dolphins can keep both Ellerbe and Wallace it would lessen if not end the need to spend money in free agency at the receiver and linebacker positions.

If the players cannot agree to a restructure, however, their status on the team for 2015 will remain uncertain and perhaps even tenuous.

Ellerbe signed a five-year, $35 million deal in 2013 that made was the 12th highest of 71 inside linebacker contracts, according to overthecap.com.

He is scheduled to count $9.85 million against the cap this season.

Wallace signed a five-year, $60 million deal in 2013 that made him the NFL's highest paid wide receiver. He is scheduled to $12.1 million against the cap this year and $13.7 million in 2016 and '17.

The Dolphins obviously want to reduce those cap figures for both players.

The team is working under no real deadline on this matter. It is under the cap even with Ndamukong Suh's $114 million deal coming online Thursday. The Dolphins can actually keep either or both Ellerbe and Wallace until after June 1 before making a final decision on their status if they don't restructure.

Failing to restructure, the Dolphins can save more cap space by cutting either or both players after June 1.