1:30pm: The Saints have officially confirmed the trade, as reported (Twitter link).
12:40pm: As part of the swap, Ellerbe has agreed to restructure his deal for the Saints, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter).
11:51am: The Dolphins will send linebacker Dannell Ellerbe and a third-round pick to New Orleans for Stills, per Pro Football Talk (Twitter link). Matt Miller of Bleacher Report (Twitter link) first reported that the Saints would be getting a linebacker and a draft pick in the deal.
Ellerbe had been viewed as a likely cap casualty, given his $8.425MM base salary for 2015. I’d be surprised if the Saints are willing to pay him that much, or have the cap flexibility to accommodate that sort of number, so there may be a pay cut or restructure involved in the move.
The Dolphins will still carry $4.2MM on their 2015 cap in dead money for Ellerbe, but create $5.65MM in cap savings by moving him.
11:38am: The Saints are in the process of finalizing a trade that will send wide receiver Kenny Stills to the Dolphins, according to Rand Getlin of Yahoo! Sports (via Twitter). We heard yesterday that the young wideout was among the many players the Saints were shopping as they overhaul their roster.
Stills, who turns just 23 next month, became an integral part of the Saints’ passing attack in 2014, hauling in 63 passes for 931 yards and three touchdowns. The Saints’ top deep threat, Stills have averaged 16.5 yards per catch since entering the league in 2013, and is on an inexpensive rookie contract for two more years, so it’s surprising that the team would be willing to move him.
Nonetheless, yesterday’s reports indicated that the Saints were shopping practically everyone on their roster, with the exception of Drew Brees and Brandin Cooks. Already this week, the team has completed deals that shipped longtime Saints Jimmy Graham and Ben Grubbs out of town.
As for the Dolphins, if they can finalize a trade for Stills, he’d be the second notable pass-catcher added by the team in the span of 24 hours. Miami also signed tight end Jordan Cameron to a contract last night.
After the Dolphins parted ways with Brian Hartline and Brandon Gibson earlier in the offseason, it looked like Ryan Tannehill may not have many weapons at his disposal for the 2015 season, with Mike Wallace and Charles Clay also hanging in the balance. However, Wallace remains on the roster for now, despite his large cap hit, and Clay was given the transition tag by the club, though he may end up signing elsewhere now that Cameron is in the mix.