Philip Wheeler joins Miami Dolphins’ new-look linebacker corps


Philip Wheeler turned down the Raiders and Chiefs and accepted the Dolphins’ $26 million deal. ‘I’m aggressive,’ he said. ‘Like a shark, but it’s ironic, because now I’m a Dolphin.’

WEB VOTE What best describes your feelings about the Dolphins’ moves so far in free agency?

For a few moments Tuesday, Philip Wheeler thought he got Punk’d.

Wheeler was on a cross-continental flight to Miami, where he thought he had a five-year contract waiting, when he experienced a moment of panic. The Dolphins reached a megadeal with Dannell Ellerbe, the TV told him. The problem: Wheeler and Ellerbe play similar positions.

“I texted my agent, ‘You sure I’m going to the right place?’ He’s pretty good,” Wheeler said with a laugh Wednesday.

No need to worry. The Dolphins did want both. They see Wheeler and Ellerbe as the future of Miami’s new-look linebacker corps.

Wheeler, who actually met with the Dolphins as a free agent in 2012 before signing with Oakland, said he can play all three positions: strong side, weak side or middle. He had a career year in 2012, tallying 109 tackles and three sacks in 16 games.

The Raiders made a strong pitch to keep him, as did the Chiefs, before Wheeler ultimately decided on the Dolphins. The $26 million contract on the table probably had a lot to do with it.

“I’m aggressive,” Wheeler said. “Like a shark; but it’s ironic, because now I’m a Dolphin.”

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