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Fresh off the wire

Dannell Ellerbe, Miami Dolphins strike $35M contract

The escape from Baltimore continues, as Ravens linebacker Dannell Ellerbe on Tuesday agreed to terms with the Miami Dolphins, according to NFL.com's Albert Breer.

NFL.com's Ian Rapoport cited a source in reporting Tuesday that Ellerbe's contract is worth $35 million over five years.

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Not long after Ellerbe's agreement with the Dolphins, NFL.com's Jeff Darlington reported that Karlos Dansby will be released, according to a team source. The South Florida Sun Sentinel, citing a team source, said Dansby was asked to restructure the five-year, $42.5 million contract he signed three years ago as a free agent. Dansby declined.

Losing Ellerbe to the Dolphins is a huge blow for the Ravens. They traded Anquan Boldin in large part because they wanted to lock up younger guys like Ellerbe. Breer reported Ellerbe was the team's top priority. The sides negotiated all morning, but the Ravens clearly couldn't match the Dolphins' cash -- and salary-cap space. Paul Kruger also left Baltimore for the AFC North rival Cleveland Browns on Tuesday.

The Dolphins spent huge money on Day 1 of free agency with Mike Wallace and Ellerbe, but at least they spent that huge money on young players. Wallace was the top deep receiver available. Ellerbe was our top inside linebacker available. He adds youth and versatility to an aging Miami linebacker group.

Ellerbe can do a little bit of everything. He can rush the passer, stop the run and cover receivers. He's the type of player you want to invest in. Now the Ravens just have another big hole to fill on their defense.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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