This random signing of a linebacker by the Dolphins wasn’t as bad as the Dannell Ellerbe atrocity. Wheeler played pretty well last season, grading out as ProFootballFocus’ 7th rated 4-3 outside linebacker, but you have to remember where he was a year ago. Last off-season, he didn’t even get a million dollars on a 1 year deal from the Raiders because he was only seen as a two-down linebacker. What if he was just a one year wonder?
26 million over 5 years with 13 million guaranteed is a lot to gamble on that, especially since the Dolphins didn’t really need an outside linebacker. Kevin Burnett was 4th rated among 4-3 outside linebackers last year, even better than Wheeler and he’s more of a proven commodity. Wheeler is a couple of years younger, but Burnett would have been cheaper this season. The Dolphins only saved 7.2 million in cap space by cutting Karlos Dansby and Burnett and burned much more cash and future cap space by replacing them with Ellerbe and Wheeler. They did get younger in the linebacking corps, but I don’t think they got better and they certainly didn’t get cheaper or more proven.