The reign of Mike Tannenbaum and Dennis Hickey continues as the Miami Dolphins pull off what might be considered the greatest heist of the off-season yet. Per various media reports, the Dolphins have just traded linebacker Dannell Ellerbe and a third-round pick to the New Orleans Saints for wide receiver Kenny Stills. Rand Getlin first reported that the trade was in the works early in the afternoon on Friday.
Stills, a 22 year old former fifth-round pick for the New Orleans Saints, is a talented young receiver who still has two years left on his rookie deal, which makes him excellent and cheap labor, something the Dolphins are in need of since the salary cap situation is getting a little tight. Ellerbe was reportedly set to be cut in a few days so this trade is essentially a third round pick for Stills.
In his two seasons with the Saints, Stills has only missed one game. He has caught 95 passes for 1,572 yards and 8 touchdowns. In 2014, he had 63 catches, 931 yards and 3 touchdowns. Over the course of two years, he has 71 first downs, with 47 of them coming last season.
Ellerbe was due to be a $9,850,000 cap hit for the Dolphins this upcoming season, and everyone was expecting him to be a post-June 1st cut, but now the team has managed to get something back for him instead. The financial ramifications aren't as great, as trading him creates $4,200,000 in dead money and only $5,650,000 in cap savings, but for a player like Stills, that's worth it.
On the other hand, Stills, has a cap number of $633,613 thousand dollars this year and a cap number of $723,613 thousand dollars in 2016. If for some reason he doesn't work out, the dead money absorbed will be minimal in both 2015 and 2016. However, if the Dolphins are giving up a third round pick, he remains in their future plans for years to come.
The Dolphins are still awaiting the offer from the Buffalo Bills for their tight end Charles Clay, and it's possible that this move is an attempt to either make some cap space to keep him, or add weapons elsewhere to move on from him. Either way, Tannenbaum and Hickey have made an excellent team so far in improving the roster, and it will be interesting to see where things go from here.
We don't know what this means for the future of Mike Wallace but one thing is certain - the Dolphins are not playing around and they are turning every stone possible to put the best possible product out on the field in 2015.
This story was written by Luis Sung. Follow him on Twitter: @FLSportDebater