Dannell Ellerbe has reworked his contract with some assistance from his former team.
After being acquired from the Miami Dolphins in a trade for wide receiver Kenny Stills, the Saints linebacker will only count $1.2 million against the Saints’ cap in 2015, down from his previous base salary of $8.45, according to a source.
But that doesn’t tell the whole story. As part of his deal, he will also receive a $2.1 million roster bonus and a $1.5 million signing bonus, which will be paid by Miami, as initially pointed out by CBS Sports.
The roster bonus is listed as “other amounts to be treated as a signing bonus,” meaning the bonus will be prorated over three seasons.
By Miami carrying those charges, it will make it much easier for New Orleans to part ways with Ellerbe in 2016 if he fails to meet expectations next season or proves to be too expensive. From a New Orleans perspective, this changes Ellerbe from an overpriced veteran to a low-risk acquisition with upside.
His cap charges over the next three seasons are $1.2 million in 2015 and $5.2 million in each 2016 and 2017.
New Orleans is now estimated to be $2.89 million under the salary cap before considering the the four-year, $18 million deal by C.J. Spiller, which should post this week.
As part of the new deal, Ellerbe also lowered his base salaries of $6.45 million and $6 million in 2016 and 2017 to $4.1 million in each of the next two seasons.
Ellerbe will receive $1 million roster bonuses in the final two seasons and $100,000 workout bonuses in all three seasons.
The trade for Ellerbe happened last week, with the Saints also acquiring a third-round pick in the deal.
Ellerbe was limited to one game last year because of a hip injury. He recorded 101 tackles over 15 games in 2013.
He arrived in town this week and is expected to compete for the middle linebacker job, which is now open following the release of linebacker Curtis Lofton.
Lofton recently signed with the Oakland Raiders, but counts as $5 million against New Orleans’ cap in dead money for next season.
Ellerbe was given a five-year, $30 million contract prior to the 2013 season from Jeff Ireland, who was then serving as Miami’s general manager.
Ireland is now the Saints’ director of college scouting.
Cadet goes to Patriots
Travaris Cadet will not be back in New Orleans next season.
After declining to tender the restricted free agent, making him available to the rest of the league, the running back signed a two-year deal with the New England Patriots on Tuesday, according to a source.
Cadet served as depth as the passing back. He finished last season with 38 catches for 296 yards with one touchdown. Nearly 250 of his yards came after the catch.
If the Saints had tendered Cadet, they would have had the right to match any offer he received from another team. The terms of the deal were not immediately disclosed.
Another one of New Orleans’ restricted free agents, defensive lineman Tyrunn Walker, recently signed with the Detroit Lions. He also was not tendered.
Offensive lineman Bryce Harris remains a free agent.
New Orleans will likely look to add depth in the running game at some point this offseason, either through the draft or by acquiring an undrafted player.
Tim Hightower. who was signed this offseason, could also fill that role.