Philadelphia Eagles: Is Mike Wallace an Alternative to Desean Jackson?

Darren GrossmanCorrespondent IFebruary 22, 2012

Could Mike Wallace make sense if the Eagles pass on D-Jax?
Could Mike Wallace make sense if the Eagles pass on D-Jax?Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

As an Eagles fan, I would like to see them re-sign DeSean Jackson to a long term deal.  However, I believe the team will franchise Jackson, and then try to trade him.  If they get their asking price, they will move Jackson.  If not, he could stay with the team under the one-year franchise deal, or they could try to work out a long-term deal.

That would be option A in my opinion; however, if Jackson does not work out, why not consider 26-year-old Mike Wallace as option B?

Under the old labor agreement, any team who signed a restricted free agent like Wallace could have to give up a first and third-round pick, a price tag too steep for most teams.  So teams rarely went after restricted free agents.

The new deal, however, made the maximum compensation a first-round pick only.  Pittsburgh does have the right to match any offer Wallace gets to keep his rights.

There are a couple key points to make here.  Even though he is a restricted free agent, Pittsburgh could franchise Wallace, which would take him out of the equation, although that seems unlikely at this point.

Pittsburgh is one of the most cap strapped teams in the league, so to tag Wallace would hurt their cap situation even more; however, because of their cap issues, it is very likely they would be unable to match a decent offer on Wallace.  So if the Eagles, or any team, makes a decent offer, Wallace could be leaving Pittsburgh.

The Eagles should just keep Desean Jackson
The Eagles should just keep Desean JacksonRob Carr/Getty Images

Now, as an option B, Wallace would be a great fit for the Eagles if they choose to part ways with DeSean Jackson.  Since he is a restricted free agent, the price tag would be similar to Jackson, but Wallace is taller and a bit more durable than Jackson.  While not quite as fast, Wallace is probably a better all around wide receiver.

So the Eagles would have to give up their first-round pick if they wanted to sign Wallace.  While that would seem like a steep price to pay, if you look at the Eagles history of first-round picks, the price does not seem that bad.  Since 2001, the Eagles first-round picks were Freddie Mitchell, Lito Sheppard, Jerome McDougle, Shawn Andrews, Mike Patterson, Brodrick Bunkley, Jeremy Maclin, Daniel Graham and Danny Watkins.  They had two seasons they did not have a pick as well.  Now out of those players, are there any you would not give up to get a Mike Wallace type of player?

See, if I trusted the Eagles would address line backer in the draft, I would never even dream of giving up the 15th pick to go after Mike Wallace; however, any Eagles fan knows the Eagles are going to draft a defensive tackle or an offensive lineman.  How do we know?  Because that's what the team does.  Look at the list I just rattled off, six of those players are OL or DL, with two wideouts and one cornerback. 

We can safely assume they are not drafting a corner or wideout this year in Round 1, so that leaves OL/DL.

The reality is the Eagles won't go after Wallace.  I know that and you know that.  So why mention it?  Because it is an intriguing idea and I do think some team will go after him.  If the Eagles decide to part ways with DeSean Jackson, I don't see a better replacement out there than Wallace, who is still young and can flat out play.