Wide receiver Mike Wallace is one of the biggest names on the free-agent market this year. With multiple teams reportedly interested in the speedy wideout, there’s a good chance he earns a hefty contract in the coming days.
We’ve already noted that the Vikings’ decision to trade receiver Percy Harvin to the Seahawks makes Minnesota a potential landing spot for Wallace and other free agent receivers. And now there’s word that the Dolphins view the Vikings as their biggest competition for Wallace.
Miami has been rumored to be the frontrunner for Wallace when free agency commences at 4 p.m. Tuesday. As ESPN’s Adam Schefter noted, the expectation has been that no team will challenge the Dolphins’ pursuit:
League-wide expectation is that WR Mike Wallace winds up in Miami with the Dolphins.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 11, 2013
Wallace reached out for a new contract from the Pittsburgh Steelers last season, holding out in an attempt to force their hand. He never got that new deal, and went on to have a subpar season in 2012 (836 yards, eight touchdowns).
The Mississippi product will want to be paid as a top receiver this offseason, and with a second team reportedly interested in acquiring his services, he has the leverage to receive a big payday.
As Jason La Canfora speculates, Wallace could be in line to earn $12 million or more per season in a new deal:
Perhaps Mike Wallace will get $12M a year, but sounds like Harvin is averaging more than that in his new deal with Seattle— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 12, 2013
Wallace’s on-field inconsistency is reason to be cautious about inking him to a massive contract, but that simply isn’t an issue for teams in free agency. Overpaying is par for the course on the free-agent market, and teams seriously considering signing a top free agent understand the perils of paying too much.
What is the maximum yearly salary a team should pay Mike Wallace in a new contract?
Miami may be the frontrunner, but it now has to consider what it will take to acquire Wallace if another suitor is seriously interested. Minnesota has the cap room—and the need—to make a strong play for Wallace, especially after trading away their best receiving threat a day before free agency begins.
Harvin’s contract likely won’t affect what teams are willing to pay for Wallace. That Harvin is no longer in Minnesota will, however.
Leverage is everything in negotiations, and Wallace now has even more with which to work. If Minnesota is a serious player in pursuit of Wallace, expect the speedster to walk away from free agency with a massive contract in tow.