The Miami Dolphins acquired wide receiver Kenny Stills from the New Orleans Saints for veteran linebacker Dannell Ellerbe and a 2015 third-round draft pick.
Stills started only six games last year but had 63 receptions for 931 yards and three touchdowns. Miami had little cap space after signing defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh to a $114 million deal this week, and Stills is a relative bargain because he’s due to make only $585,000 this year.
Ellerbe, a six-year veteran, played in only one game last season due to a hip injury, and he was a target to be released by Miami before the trade. He was due to make $8.4 million this season in the third year of a five-year deal, but agreed to a restructuring of his contract with New Orleans.
Ellerbe signed with the Dolphins in 2013 when Jeff Ireland was their general manager. Ireland now oversees college scouting for the Saints.
He tweeted that he was excited about his new start in New Orleans.
Super excited bout joining my new team!!! Can't wait to ball this year!!! #CantStopWhatsInGODSPLAN
— Dannell Ellerbe (@ellerbe59) March 13, 2015
Stills, who is only 22, shores up a position depleted in recent weeks with Miami’s release of Brian Hartline and Brandon Gibson to purge payroll. The Dolphins must decide whether to keep, cut or trade disgruntled receiver Mike Wallace, who is due to make $9.9 million this year.
Stills, who has blossomed after being drafted in the fifth round in 2013, provides a deep threat that might make Wallace expendable. The speedy Stills, whose father and uncle also played in the NFL, had just 32 catches as a rookie in 2013, but averaged 20 yards per receptions and scored five times.
The Dolphins, trying to end a six-year playoff drought, added another target for Ryan Tannehill on Thursday when they signed tight end Jordan Cameron.
The Saints, 7-9 last year, have been not only shuffling their roster but also stockpiling draft choices. With the pick from Miami, the Saints have two picks in the first round, one in the second, two in the third, two in the fifth and one each in the sixth and seventh, giving them nine overall.