Written by Sal Conti follow on Twitter @SC2sports
The Free Agent block just got a little bit hotter.
Mike Wallace has signed a five-year deal with the Miami Dolphins, bolstering the ‘Fins receiving core and giving them a true number one receiver since the Chris Chambers days.
In most of my articles, I tend to look into the ‘fine print’ of a player’s statistics to give my readers the big picture, so to speak.
In this case, the numbers were loud and clear,without really having to dig.
Let’s start with this one;
The Miami Dolphins had 13 receiving touchdowns all of last season. Mike Wallace had 8 by himself with the Steelers. For a team that needs to put points on the board, I’d say Mike Wallace is a pretty good fit. I wouldn’t call him a top five receiver in the league, but he IS one of the fastest . Wallace makes getting separation from cornerbacks and safeties look easy, and he can ‘take the top off of the defense and his ability to find the end zone combined with his new team’s scheme makes him a lock to be a top-20 fantasy receiver (he was 25th in standard non-PPR leagues last year).
At times during his tenure in Pittsburgh, Wallace played ‘second fiddle,’ to the likes of Heath Miller, Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown. Miller tied Wallace for the team lead, with eight receiving touchdowns last year. In Miami last season, former Dolphin and current KC Chief, Anthony Fasano, caught five touchdown passes to lead the team. The player on the Dolphins last year with the next highest amount of receiving touchdowns was running back Reggie Bush, with two. It appears that Bush will working in Detroit next season. Miami needed a wide receiver with a nose for the end zone. Wallace fits perfectly in that respect.
But at what cost did Miami obtain this one-trick pony? The answer: $65 million over five years, with $30 million guaranteed.
I believe in this year’s NFL free agency pool, teams will have to overpay a little. In my opinion, Wallace is worth about $45 million, maybe $50 million, over five or six years. But, in an effort to fend off another team that could’ve landed Wallace (Minnesota Vikings) and make sure that Wallace would have no second thoughts on signing with the Dolphins, Miami upped the offer by another $4 million or $5 million per year. We won’t know now if this is a decision they will regret until the latter half of his deal.
While overpaid, he is a clear upgrade above any other receiver in Miami. Maybe the most important statistic I found was this;
In Wallace’s only two career games played against the New England Patriots, he has fifteen receptions for 206 yards. The combination of Wallace’s speed and the historically-mediocre Patriots secondary bodes very well for a Dolphins team that is looking to surpass the Pats in the AFC East division next year.
Miami will have to shore up their tight end position to add a presence in the middle of the field right between Wallace and Brian Hartline. They made an attempt to sign former Tennessee Titan TE Jared Cook, however, Cook signed a five year deal with the St. Louis Rams later on Tuesday.
To sum up my thoughts on the deal, it was solid for Miami. Even though they did overpay for a one-trick pony, Miami needed a deep threat, and they got their guy. Brian Hartline and Davone Bess are good enough to play in the NFL, but neither can stretch the field and make plays after the catch like Wallace. He can turn a five yard drag or slant route into a 60 or 70 yard touchdown.
Wallace will provide more opportunities to put points on the board and may even give them a fighting chance against division rival and kingpin New England Patriots. Expect Ryan Tannehill’s value to shoot up a bit as well as solidify Brian Hartline. In terms of real life play, does this move alone make them closer to supplanting the Pats? It doesn’t hurt, but the Phins still have a long way to go in developing their offense in order to keep up with the high scoring Pat’s offense.
The Mike Wallace to the Miami Dolphins deal get’s a B+ from me. Barring any further signings, look for Wallace to be a fantasy WR2 with potential to be a WR1, IF he overproduces.