If the last season taught Miami Dolphins fans anything, it's that there's hope for the future. Ryan Tannehill appears to have all the tools to be a very successful quarterback. It's too early, and too heavy a burden, to say that he's the next Dan Marino, but he has the potential to take us into a bright future. What the last season also taught us is that we DESPERATELY need to surround Ryan with some talent. Anyone who watched a Dolphins game last season could see that we have a glaring need at the wide receiver position, and with more than $40 million in cap space, it's a position that can be filled rather easily.
Enter Mike Wallace. It has become apparent that our top priority in this off-season is to sign the top free-agent WR, formerly of the Pittsburgh Steelers. While there are many compelling reasons to sign him, I'm not sold. The Dolphins need someone with big play ability, and no one fits that bill more than Mike Wallace. He's arguably the fastest receiver in the NFL and has shown that his speed does translate to the football field, unlike so many other speedy receivers. He's been a solid deep threat since his entry into the league in 2009. He's young, he's talented, and he's available. By all accounts, the Miami Dolphins, and their entire fan-base, should be excited to have him, right? Well, not me. I feel like there are far more reasons that we shouldn't want him than reasons that we should.
My first argument against Wallace is that his production has declined every year in the league since he became a starter in 2010. When the Steelers traded Santonio Holmes, it was time for Wallace to step up and become the teams first option. And in that first year, he produced accordingly. He set career highs in yards with 1,257, touchdowns with 10 and yards per catch with a surprising 21.0. In the two years since though, his yards have steadily declined, he has two fewer touchdowns per year, and most alarmingly, his average yards per catch has fallen to only 13.0, a mark that is troublesome for a "deep threat". In a contract year, a year after the retirement of Hines Ward making Wallace "the guy", he managed the lowest numbers in his career, albeit a young career.
The second argument against Wallace is his attitude. I understand that an NFL receiver needs to have a swagger about him. It takes a certain mentality to be a standout in this game. But having a "swagger" and being a diva are not mutually inclusive. Wallace has been in the media far too often complaining about his role with the team or with his contract situation. He's already had one hold-out in his career and he's just now reaching the end of his rookie contract. I don't think that's an attitude that we should want in Miami.
The third, and largest in my opinion, reason to not sign Wallace is the large crop of wide receivers available to Miami. Not only is Wallace a free agent, but so are Greg Jennings, Wes Welker, Danny Amendola and several other serviceable guys. While none of those names have the star-power that Wallace does, and none of them have the big play ability that Mike does, all of them are more consistent and less of a headache. Mike Wallace has a DVOA (a statistic that is essentially the equivalent of WAR in baseball) that puts him in the mid 20's in the NFL over his career, a mark that is surpassed by both Jennings and Welker. As for Amendola, he is an up-and-coming receiver who can run all the routes and who I think will become a star in this league in the years to come. I would be much happier with any of these options over Wallace. Even if Miami didn't want to spend their copious amounts of money in free agency, there are three brilliant options in the NFL draft at WR in Cordarrelle Patterson (as my fiancee' refers to him, Corduroy) , Keenan Allen, and Tavon Austin. All three have the big play ability that we are looking for, and will come at a much more cap-friendly price tag than Wallace.
So, to sum it all up...while I understand the reasoning behind being on the bandwagon to sign Mike Wallace, you won't see me there, and I will chalk his signing up to another disappointing moment to be a fan of this team. Please Jeff Ireland, don't disappoint me yet again.
Welcome! My name is Chris Spooner. I am an overly-passionate Dolphins fan who has many opinions about his team, and the sports landscape as a whole. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy voicing them.