There's an old saying that a rolling stone gathers no moss.
Apparently Miami Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland despises moss, because the Dolphins hit the ground running at the beginning of free agency and haven't slowed down since.
The first shot that the Dolphins fired in free agency was their biggest of the day, as early in free agency the Dolphins agreed to terms on a blockbuster five-year, $65 million contract with wide receiver Mike Wallace.
Beat writer Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel was one of the first to relay terms of the contract.
I have been told the Dolphins will pay Mike Wallace five-years, $65 million with $30 million guaranteed. The numbers have not been confirmed— Omar Kelly (@OmarKelly) March 12, 2013
Once the deal was done, it was time for the "experts" to chime in with their opinions of the Dolphins' acquisition of a player they hope will pair with quarterback Ryan Tannehill to form a potent pitch-and-catch duo for years to come.
The opinions were mixed, both overall and individually.
Mike Freeman of CBS Sports wrote that Wallace's signing was a "good move" for the Dolphins, but "just barely."
In the age of the salary cap, paying a one-dimensional wide receiver $30 million guaranteed is borderline insane.
The Dolphins needed offensive weapons, and Wallace is a good one. The problem is he runs in a straight line. You'd like your weapons that you pay $30 million guaranteed to cross the middle, run screens, and be over 6 feet tall.
Mike Greenberg of ESPN's "Mike and Mike in the Morning" shared that sentiment.
Mike Wallace is good, and very fast, of course. But, am I the only one who thinks the #Dolphins gave him far too much money?— Mike Greenberg (@Espngreeny) March 12, 2013
However, not all pundits shared that rather pessimistic view of the Wallace signing.
As ESPN's James Walker points out, the Dolphins badly needed a player with a penchant for scoring touchdowns, something that Wallace did with regularity while he was in Pittsburgh.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, Miami's receivers were last in the NFL with just three touchdown receptions in 2012. Wallace has 32 career touchdowns, including eight last season with the Steelers. Wallace not only has speed, but he’s a playmaker with a nose for the end zone.
Walker called Wallace's signing a "tremendous" move by the Dolphins, but back in the glass half-empty camp, ESPN's Skip Bayless was busy raining on Miami's parade.
Dolphins just dangerously overpaid for Mike Wallace.— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) March 12, 2013
At this point I would be remiss if I didn't point out that, generally speaking, if Skip Bayless hates something it's probably a good idea.
Sports Illustrated's Peter King agreed with Bayless (although any rational person would deny ever doing such a thing) that the Dolphins overpaid Wallace, but King also made a very salient point about why the Dolphins may have done so.
I like the deal. Here's how you justify this: The Miami Dolphins needed a deep-threat receiver. There was only one in the market. They didn't have much competition, but make no mistake, if the Dolphins didn't very slightly trump the going market for receivers, $11-million to $12-million a year, Wallace would have been tempted to stay on the market while trying to force a receiver-desperate team like Minnesota to get involved
King is absolutely spot-on here. Did the Dolphins overpay for Mike Wallace? Probably.
They didn't have a whole lot of choice. The Dolphins badly needed a vertical threat in the offense, Mike Wallace was easily the best option available in free agency in that regard, and if he left South Florida without a deal there was a very real chance he wasn't coming back.
The rational view that the Dolphins overpaid out of necessity, was echoed by Bleacher Report's own AFC East Lead Writer Erik Frenz.
The Dolphins desperately needed someone to stretch the field, and they have all the money in the world to throw around to make that happen. They went out and picked up the best deep threat on the open market, and of course, they'll be paying out the nose to get him in the fold.
Sure it's a risk, but as the Dolphins demonstrated very clearly Tuesday they're feeling froggy.
It's time to leap.
Whether you're a former teammate wishing Wallace well.
Wanna wish @wallace17_dakid good luck in miami...— LaMarr Woodley (@LaMarrWoodley) March 12, 2013
Or an ESPN writer taking potshots.
Mike Wallace's contract proves you can hold out, perform poorly and then make a ton of money. Truly inspirational.— DJ Gallo (@DJGalloESPN) March 12, 2013
While opinions on the wisdom of signing Mike Wallace are all over the place, two things are indisputable.
One, Mike Wallace is headed to South Beach and he's going to get paid.
Two, when it comes to free agency this year, Jeff Ireland and the Dolphins aren't playing around.