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.”