The NFL's free agent signing period opened on Tuesday afternoon, and the Miami Dolphins are closing in on one of the biggest prizes of the offseason.
The Dolphins signed Mike Wallace. The Sun-Sentinel reported Tuesday afternoon that the Dolphins and Wallace, formerly of the Pittsburgh Steelers, agreed to terms on a five-year deal. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the NBC6 has learned that the deal is worth $65 million.
Wallace brings deep-play ability that the Dolphins hope can stretch opposing defenses and create room for short and intermediate passes to Brian Hartline and Davone Bess. Hartline received a contract extension earlier this month worth $30.775 million over four years.
The Steelers selected Wallace in the third round of the 2009 NFL Draft out of Mississippi. In four seasons with Pittsburgh, he caught 235 passes for 4,042 yards and 32 touchdowns. He went to the Pro Bowl after the 2011 season, when he caught 72 passes for 1,193 yards.
Wallace has averaged 17.2 yards per catch over his career, but his yards per catch have declined from 21.0 in 2010 to 13.1 last season.
The Dolphins averaged 5.9 yards per pass attempt last season, 22nd out of 32 teams in the NFL. Pittsburgh, Wallace's old team, averaged 6.2 yards per pass, which isn't much better.
Still, he would represent the kind of big-play threat that Miami's offense has missed since Brandon Marshall was traded to the Chicago Bears a year ago.
Also on Tuesday, the Baltimore Sun reported that former Ravens LB Dannell Ellerbe agreed to a multiyear deal with the Dolphins. Ellerbe recorded 89 tackles and 4.5 sacks for Baltimore last season. His signing could mean that the Dolphins will part ways with either Karlos Dansby or Kevin Burnnett, both starting linebackers.
Finally, the Sun Sentinel reported Tuesday that the Dolphins have re-signed safety Chris Clemons to a one-year deal. Clemons made 69 tackles and 2 interceptions for Miami in 2012.