Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Dolphins, in desperate need of playmakers, reportedly have their eyes set on one of the more dynamic free agent receivers available in 2013.
According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, wide receiver Mike Wallace, soon to be a former Pittsburgh Steeler, is the Dolphins’ top target in the offseason. Wallace is a speedy receiver who is also a deceptively adept route runner who has excelled with the Steelers.
Wallace, who will be 27 when the season begins, has played in all but one game over the past four years. During that time, he’s averaged 1010.5 receiving yards and eight touchdowns per season. In 2010 and 2011, Wallace had at least 1,193 receiving yards for the Steelers.
Perhaps Wallace’s best asset is his deep speed which the Dolphins desperately need. Wallace could force defenses to drop their coverage back to account for his deep routes which would theoretically open up routes for tight ends and slot receivers like Davone Bess.
But, if the Dolphins are to sign Wallace it’s going to cost a lot of cap space. Last year, the top free agent receiver was Vincent Jackson who signed with Tampa Bay. The Bucs gave Jackson a five-year, $55 million contract. Wallace reportedly turned down a contract similar to that from the Steelers.
The Sun-Sentinel reported that a contract worth roughly $60 million over five years, or roughly $12 million per season. Because the Dolphins have an abundance of cap space this year, the team could also front-load the contract to make subsequent years easier on the salary cap.
The biggest question surrounding Wallace will be character. He reportedly started to fall out of favor in Pittsburgh late in the season and missed his final game as a Steeler, the first he had missed in four years. But Pittsburgh cast its lot with Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders instead of Wallace.
The Steelers’ trash could be the Dolphins treasure. Even if Wallace signed for $12 million per season, the Fins would still have almost $30 million in cap space to go after other free agents and has five of the first 100 picks in the NFL Draft in April.