After recording 100 tackles in his first season with the Dolphins, Dannell Ellerbe‘s second year with the team has been prematurely cut short. Head coach Joe Philbin confirmed today that Ellerbe would land on Miami’s season-ending injured reserve list after sustaining a hip injury in the club’s opener against the Patriots (link via James Walker of ESPN.com). The Dolphins will sign linebacker Kelvin Sheppard using the open roster spot vacated by Ellerbe.
Sheppard, 26, spent the 2013 season with the Colts after two years in Buffalo. His best season came in 2012, when he was a starter for the Bills and racked up 80 tackles to go along with a pair of sacks. Pro Football Focus’ grades (subscription required) suggest Sheppard has typically fared better against the pass than the run, scoring much better in pass coverage and as a pass rusher than as a run stopper.
As for Ellerbe, his $6MM base salary this year is fully guaranteed, but only a portion of next year’s $8.425MM salary is currently guaranteed, as Adam Caplan of ESPN.com tweets. Whether or not the linebacker returns to Miami for the 2015 season will depend in part on how his recovery goes, but his cap number figures to be considered as well.