Mike Wallace has the kind of big-play ability to reshape an entire offense. However, he also has shown the kind of inconsistency that can stall drives and kill momentum.
As such, this athletically blessed 26-year-old is one of the more intriguing names set to hit the free-agent market this season.
UPDATE: Tuesday, March 12 at 4:13 p.m. ET by Patrick Clarke
Dolphins and Mike Wallace are negotiating a five-year deal that one source familiar with the talks said is "very, very likely" to get done— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 12, 2013
---End of update---
UPDATE: Monday, March 11 at 9:40 a.m. ET by Donald Wood
The talk that impending free agent wide receiver Mike Wallace could end up signing with the Miami Dolphins continues to intensify, as Ben Volin of The Palm Beach Post comments on the situation:
“Now we’ll add our own two cents: We hear from someone we trust that it’s a “done deal” that Wallace will be signing with Miami.”
---End of update---
UPDATE: Monday, March 11 at 7:20 a.m. ET by Donald Wood
While Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace is heading toward impending free agency, the expected bidding war for the talented star has not come to fruition. This appears to be a one-horse race, with the Miami Dolphins the favorites to land the WR, according to Sports Illustrated’s Peter King:
Miami didn't have much, if any, competition for a big-money deal ($11 million or more a year) for wide receiver Mike Wallace.
---End of update---
UPDATE: Saturday, March 9 at 7:10 p.m. ET by Dan Talintyre
Alex Marvez at Fox Sports reports that Miami has emerged as the front-runners to sign Mike Wallace given their huge salary cap space. He also reports that the weather and other factors have given the Dolphins a clear edge in signing the star wide receiver.
The weather—and a whole lot of money—have given the Miami Dolphins an early edge in the free-agent bidding for Mike Wallace.
A source told FOXSports.com that the Dolphins are the "lead dog" to land Wallace when the signing period officially opens at 4 p.m. ET Tuesday.
The top wide receiver in the free-agent market after four seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Wallace was expected to draw offers from multiple teams that would average between $11 million and $12 million a season. But the steamy climate where the Dolphins are based could be the tiebreaker as Wallace mulls where to play.
Miami recently signed wide receiver Brian Hartline to a five-year deal worth $30.77 million, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. However, even with that deal, the Dolphins still have plenty of space to sign Wallace, who would likely become the No. 1 wide receiver over Hartline.
---End of update---
In his four seasons in the NFL, Wallace has 4,042 receiving yards and 32 receiving touchdowns. He has the kind of speed, size and ball skills, with past production, that demands big money. However, he can be plagued by drops and lack of concentration.
Check out all the positive aspects of Wallace in this highlight video, and you'll get a feel as to why Wallace is garnering plenty of interest:
Teams have a lot to mull over before making a run at Wallace—especially considering the kind of coin it will likely take to ink him.
The Steelers had previously offered Wallace a deal that was greater than the five-year, $55.5 million deal Vincent Jackson received last year, but Wallace turned it down, Meanwhile, Sports Illustrated's Peter King reported that Wallace is "scaring teams off" with the dollar signs in his eyes.
So, keep all of this in mind as we take a look at some of the teams that are being connected to Wallace.
We might as well start with the only NFL team Wallace has ever called home.
The Steelers are not in a good cap situation. So, it really isn't all that surprising that ESPN Cleveland's Tony Grossi expects the Steelers to land receiver Steve Breaston. They need to find someone who is cheaper than Wallace.
Also, there is reason to believe (via The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) that members of the Steelers front office became a little disenchanted with Wallace after last season's holdout.
While we can't rule out Wallace returning to the Steelers, it seems highly unlikely at this point.
Where will Mike Wallace play next year?
The Browns were projected as a popular landing spot for Wallace. However, that is cooling off.
In the piece we just referenced, Grossi talked about the Browns having shown interest in Breaston. Grossi feels it is a sign that the Browns aren't going to break the bank for a receiver.
This is a smart decision for Cleveland. The Browns need a receiver, but first they need a reliable target. They already have a pair of youngsters with athletic ability but who are inconsistent in Josh Gordon and Greg Little.
If I were forced to pick Wallace's future home, I'd go with the Miami Dolphins. This team has to add a legit threat for Ryan Tannehill as he enters his second season.
The team certainly seems to realize this, as it is no secret it's looking at receivers. On Feb. 19, the Sun-Sentinel's Omar Kelly noted that Wallace is the Dolphins' top target.
This sentiment was also echoed by The Miami Herald's Armando Salguero.
The Palm Beach Post's Ben Volin reported, after Randy Stark's franchise tag is figured in, that the Dolphins have over $36 million in cap space. So, if they want to make a big run at Wallace, they certainly have the means.
Mike Wallace to the Panthers picked up steam recently when NFL.com's Steve Wyche (via NFL.com's Ian Rapoport) asked Panthers head coach Ron Rivera if Wallace was a target of the Panthers.
Here is Rivera's response:
You're warm, but you know what's going to be interesting is how things unfold once we get to March 12. There's a lot of things that are out there that we have to really take into consideration. You know, we'll see how things are going to affect us when we get to the 12th.
While Rivera definitely left room for speculation here, this pairing may not be all that realistic. The Panthers do not enjoy the luxury of cap space, and ESPN's Pat Yasinskas doesn't see how they could afford Wallace as a result.
Meanwhile, the Houston Texans desperately need another threat at wide receiver to help ease the load on Andre Johnson and complete this offense.
However, it doesn't appear that Wallace, or any other high-priced receiver, will be filling that void. The Houston Chronicle's John McClain passed that along:
Texans won't go after Harvin or Wallace. They'll use cap money 2 try 2 re-sign vets and extend players like Brian Cushing and Antonio Smith.— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) February 12, 2013
I'd look for the Texans to address the need for a receiver in the draft.
It is going to be interesting to see how the market for Wallace plays out. The Dolphins certainly look like the clear front-runner, but there is still time for other teams to decide that adding Wallace is a must.