The Buffalo Bills are in quite the predicament this offseason. As general manager Buddy Nix has stated, they're gonna be aggressive in pursuing a difference-maker in free agency. Could that difference-maker be wide receiver Mike Wallace of the Pittsburgh Steelers?
The Bills re-signed wide receiver Stevie Johnson last week to a long-term deal, but they still are in desperate need of a viable weapon opposite Johnson. At 25 years old, the former Ole Miss product led the Pittsburgh Steelers in receptions (72), in yards (1,193) and touchdowns (eight). In his three-year career, Wallace has reeled in 171 passes for 3,206 yards and found the end zone 24 times.
Under the collective bargaining agreement, if a team wants to keep a restricted free agent, they must assign a tender and a draft pick to that player, which an opposing team must match to sign that player. The most that a team is allowed to attach to a restricted free agent is $2.61 million tender, along with the right of first refusal and a first-round selection.
While many Bills fans are hoping for a Vincent Jackson or Marques Colston, trading the No. 10 overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft, along with the $2.61 million, for a proven weapon could turn out to be a franchise-changer.
Many mock drafts have the Bills selecting a defensive end or, most notably, Michael Floyd out of Notre Dame. Why risk the chance of a hit-or-miss player when the franchise has an opportunity to secure a young, fast Pro Bowl wide receiver who can beat NFL defenses to complement Stevie Johnson?
Wallace is a burner, averaging roughly 16 yards per reception, and he would open up passing lanes for fellow wideouts David Nelson, Donald Jones and Namaan Roosevelt, who are beginning to come into their own.
It's time for Buffalo to make a splash, and I'm not talking about a Langston Walker or a Derrick Dockery splash. If the Bills want to be contenders in one of the toughest divisions in the National Football League, adding a player of Wallace's caliber is a step in the right direction.