Continued from page 2

_Miami already had signed linebacker Dannell Ellerbe and added to that unit Wednesday by giving Philip Wheeler a five-year contract, worth $26 million, half of that guaranteed. He spent his first four NFL seasons with the Indianapolis Colts and played last season for the Raiders, where he had career highs of 109 tackles and three sacks.

The Dolphins released linebackers Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett.

_Minnesota re-signed LB Erin Henderson and WR Jerome Simpson, while Washington did the same with DE Kedric Golston.

_Buffalo addressed a need at linebacker by signing seven-year veteran Manny Lawson. The Bills are switching from a 4-3 alignment to a 3-4 under new coordinator Mike Pettine.

_The New York Jets re-signed fullback Lex Hilliard to a one-year contract, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the team had not yet announced the move. Hilliard was signed in the middle of last season to replace John Conner.

_The Dallas Cowboys are releasing veteran defensive tackle Marcus Spears, with the move designated for June 1, when it will save the Cowboys $2 million against the salary cap. Spears, who turned 30 last week, was the second of two first-round picks after DeMarcus Ware in 2005.

_Seattle and defensive end Cliff Avril reached agreement on a deal that addresses one of Seattle’s big offseason concerns, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. The agreement was still pending a physical.

_Pittsburgh found its backup to QB Ben Roethlisberger in a Steel City native, Bruce Gradkowski. The 30-year-old Gradkowski is 6-14 as a starter with Oakland, Cleveland and Tampa Bay. He spent the 2011-12 seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, appearing in five games.

Pittsburgh also released oft-injured offensive lineman Willie Colon.

_Jacksonville released receiver Laurent Robinson, the latest high-priced player let go as part of the team’s rebuilding project. Robinson signed a five-year, $32.5 million free agent-contract last season before missing considerable time with concussions.