Wide receiver Mike Wallace continues to prove that the Miami Dolphins made the wrong move signing him to such a lucrative contract over the offseason. Wallace came to Miami on a five-year deal worth $60 million with $27 million in guaranteed money.
So far, the move has not paid off.
After a Week 1 performance in which Wallace only caught one pass for 15 yards, he was clearly frustrated and refused to comment after the game. Instead, Wallace gave short answers such as, "I don't feel like talking" and "Ask Coach."
Clearly, Wallace could have handled the situation in a more graceful manner.
Perhaps the writing was already on the wall.
After a dismal performance in 2012 while with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Wallace's attitude flared, and he was visibly frustrated. This act led head coach Mike Tomlin to consider benching his receiver for the following game, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Said Tomlin:
Mike was frustrated, and rightfully so. He's not producing in the manner in which he'd like to or which we'd like him to. It's the function of a lot of things. He's just going to be committed to continuing to work, and we're committed to that as well.
The following game, Wallace was listed as a "co-starter" with fellow wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders.
Simply put, Wallace's poor attitude is nothing new.
Fast-forward to 2013. Wallace has not been able to get on the same page with quarterback Ryan Tannehill on any kind of consistent basis this season.
Wallace's production has been all over the place. The wide receiver has only accumulated three games of at least 100 receiving yards. In fact, he has been held to 41 yards or fewer six times in 2013.
Pro Football Focus (subscription required) gives a great amount of insight into Wallace's inconsistency. He is currently ranked just 85th out of 112 eligible wide receivers with a negative-1.9 overall grade this year.
Mike Wallace could be the laziest on-field wide receiver in the league right now. So many catchable balls he lets get away.— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) November 12, 2013
That poor ranking does not bode well for the huge investment that the Dolphins made in Wallace.
To make matters worse, Pro Football Focus (subscription required) has also credited Wallace with 11 dropped passes this season.
It appears as though it's not just a lack of chemistry with Tannehill, but a lack of an all-around skill set as a wide receiver that continues to hurt Wallace's production.
However, don't tell him that.
During an interview with Adam H. Beasley of the Miami Herald after a solid showing on Sunday, Wallace had some high praise for himself. The receiver simply said, "I’m a great player, I know that. It’s all that really matters. ... Let’s call a spade a spade."
Mike Wallace knows he's a great player http://t.co/5VdZeR74yP— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) December 2, 2013
It seems that even when Wallace is productive, his ego takes center stage.
Wallace also attempted to make excuses for his lack of production throughout the season:
This is the time when you've got to be the best you can be. It's December. I've had enough time to get adjusted. It’s the time for me to be the player I know I am, no matter what. Just block out everything and play football.
That's all well and good. After all, it should take a wide receiver—even a veteran like Wallace—time to get acclimated with a new system, coaches and quarterback. However, struggling more than 10 games into the season is not excusable by any means.
If Wallace is truly as good as he thinks he is, he would not have had as much trouble adjusting to the Dolphins' system.
Does Mike Wallace still play for the Dolphins?— Jamie Dukes (@jamiedukes) November 12, 2013
After all, other high-priced wide receivers like Brandon Marshall, Vincent Jackson and Pierre Garcon—all who make less than Wallace, by the way—did not seem to have nearly the same amount of trouble as Wallace when joining their new teams.
With that being said, Wallace must continue to show up each and every week if he plans on earning his new contract.
Wallace says that he's great, and he has the contract of a great wide receiver. Now, he must prove that he can be great on the field, or else the Dolphins will be regretting this signing in short order—if they aren't already.