This year’s free agent class has no shortage of talent. No matter what your teams demand, the market can supply it. It will just cost them an arm and a leg to do so, and possibly hurt them a few years down the road. Especially if your team is the one that gives in to Mike Wallace’s laughable demands.
Last year the word out of Steelers training camp was that Wallace was looking to get a contract somewhere in the neighbourhood of Larry Fitzgerald’s 8yr/$113M contract. He opted not to hold out for a new deal with Steelers, and returned in time for the regular season. His worst season since entering the league. That, in combination with a receiver heavy free agent and draft class has led to Wallace lowering his demands. They are still bordering on madness, as he is aiming to get a deal similar to the 5yr/$55M contract Vincent Jackson got last offseason.
What will surely land Wallace his super deal is his elite speed. It’s something you just can’t teach. You got it, or you don’t. Wallace has it, and then some. In case you’re wondering his 4.33 40 yard dash time was the second highest of his draft class.
To go with his other worldly speed, Mike Wallace runs sharp crisp routes and has great ball skills. He has the ability to make great catches, and is excellent at creating distance between himself and the opposing defense. He gets in and out of his cuts with ease and leaves corners dizzy and sometimes just plain lost.
He has all the skills to be an elite receiver, and once upon a time he really did look like one. That time has since passed though. The Wallace that “showed up” in Pittsburgh last season was as average a receiver as his production would indicate. His 836 yards are his second lowest total since his rookie season, as were his 33 receptions for first downs and 8 for touchdowns. He also had 6 drops last year. Most of them were incredibly untimely, and the difference between scoring drives and punts, touchdowns and field goals.
To get paid like a top flight receiver, you should have to produce like a top flight receiver. That just simply wasn’t the case last season. Not sure how much of this has to do with his discontent over his contract situation in Pittsburgh, but whatever the case it should raise concerns for potential suitors. If Wallace could draw on his raw potential, great speed and ability to beat coverage on a weekly basis, he’s worth whatever his new team is willing to pay him. His lack of consistency to this point in his career though could mean that just won’t happen. He hasn’t shown the ability to be a pure number one receiver to this point in his career, but I’m willing to bet there’s some team out there that feels a Briggs truck full of cash is all he needs to put it together. What could go wrong?
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