Before Miami Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland was under pressure for having a team with quite possibly the most dysfunctional locker room anyone’s ever heard of, he was rewarded and praised for his free agent acquisitions this Spring and Summer. The biggest name the Dolphins signed over the offseason was WR Mike Wallace to a giant 5-year, $60 million contract.
Wallace was coming off of an unproductive previous year with the Steelers, but had definitely set himself apart from the league with his speed. He was once described by Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin as a “one trick pony”, saying all he had to offer was his speed. With the amount of the contract and the pedestrian production Wallace has given the Dolphins so far this season is he officially considered a bust yet?
After 10 games played, Mike Wallace isn’t even the Dolphins’ receiving leader. With 44 receptions, 534 yards and only one touchdown his numbers are behind fellow Dolphins WR Brian Hartline. Antonio Brown, who is Wallace’s replacement in the #1 receiver slot for the Steelers, leads the league with 74 receptions. Brown also has 952 yards and 5 touchdowns to prove that the Steelers definitely aren’t hurting without their former “one trick pony”.
There’s no doubt that Mike Wallace can still be the NFL’s most dangerous deep-threat but at this point it’s pretty clear that he’s just not that productive away from Ben Roethlisberger. If the Dolphins were trying to get their money’s worth out of him by using his after-catch speed at bubble screens and cross routes that’s probably not going to cut it for very long. Doesn’t help that Tannehill is getting the David Carr-treatment this season and has been sacked more than anyone else in the league.
For years the Dolphins’ free agency problems were more in the names they didn’t sign. They didn’t sign Drew Brees when they had the chance, they couldn’t convince Peyton Manning to take his talents to North Miami Beach, and they couldn’t even sway Jeff Fisher to come coach the team. Now, it seems like Jeff Ireland’s biggest free agency mistake is giving $60 million to Mike Wallace so he can basically draw double teams and free up Brian Hartline to lead your team in receptions and yards.