Miami Dolphins Make a Splash on the First Day of NFL Free Agency

Matt Barbato@@Matt_BarbatoCorrespondent IMarch 12, 2013

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 09:  Mike Wallace #17 of the Pittsburgh Steelers reacts with fans after his touchdown in the third quarter against the San Diego Chargers on December 9, 2012 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. San Diego won the game 34-24.  (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins made a big addition to their thin receiving core by signing former Pittsburgh wide receiver Mike Wallace. According to Chris Perkins and Omar Kelly of the Sun Sentinel, the Dolphins signed Wallace to a five-year, $65 million contract.

Wallace, who is recognized as one of the best deep-threat wideouts in the NFL, racked up almost 1,200 receiving yards and eight touchdowns in 2011. Wallace disappointed in his final season with the Steelers, catching 64 passes for only 836 yards and eight touchdowns.

The Dolphins recently re-signed Brian Hartline to a five-year, $30.775 million deal. Miami has a very good duo at the position but could still use some more depth on the outside. These two signings will certainly boost second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill's progression.

But Miami wasn't finished yet. Hours later, the Dolphins announced the signing of Ravens' linebacker Dannell Ellerbe. The deal is five years and worth $35 million, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter (via James Walker of ESPN).

The Dolphins didn't need to add depth at linebacker, but the signing of Ellerbe gives them a very nice group. Ellerbe does bring youth to the position and gives Miami the opportunity to release Karlos Dansby or Kevin Burnett, who are both over 30 years old.

Ellerbe had 92 tackles and 4.5 sacks in his fourth season in the NFL. He is a physical linebacker who Miami can rely on to be a playmaker in the front seven.

Other than the Chicago Bears, who signed tight end Martellus Bennett and tackle Jermon Bushrod, the Dolphins were the big winners of the first day of free agency. The team addressed its biggest need by signing a No. 1 wide receiver and added depth to an already solid linebacker group.