The Dolphins, who have denied trying to trade wide receiver Mike Wallace in the past, are renewing their efforts to move their extremely expensive acquisition from a season ago, or at least that’s what Jason La Canfora reports via Twitter.
Fins have renewed attempts to trade WR Mike Wallace during the league meetings. Teams doing homework on him. Contract makes it a tough trade
— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 26, 2014
La Canfora mentions Wallace’s contract makes any potential trade a tough sell, and that’s the understatement of the week. Wallace’s salary of $15 million in 2014 is fully guaranteed, meaning any team that trades for the receiver would be picking up the entire tab. If Wallace was one of the top two or three receivers in the league, sure, he’d be worth that much, but he’s simply not productive enough to warrant such an investment.
Making the deal look even worse is the fact that Calvin Johnson, widely regarded as the NFL’s best receiver, is bringing home a base salary of just $5 million in 2014. Sure, Johnson’s contract included a few early bonuses that largely make up the difference between his salary and Wallace’s, but the two players shouldn’t even be close in their compensation models.
By attempting to move Wallace, the Dolphins are admitting they messed up by throwing such a huge pile of cash at Wallace, and to be honest, they did make a big mistake. That being said, would it be the worst thing in the world, from a competitive standpoint, to eat that mistake and keep Wallace on the team? Sure, he’s not worth it, but he’s also the best deep-threat option they currently have, and there’s probably not a team in the land willing to actually give anything up to bring in such an overly-expensive player.
In fact, the only teams in the league that can truly afford to trade for Wallace are almost universally involved in rebuilding their rosters. Those teams that have excess cash to throw around are more interesting in building for the long-term future than taking a shot at a high-risk, high-reward player. In other words, the only franchises that could easily eat the cost of Wallace’s contract aren’t interested in bringing in that type of salary burden.
That’s not to say that it would be impossible to move Wallace. Other teams around the league could in fact make room for Wallace if they really felt like it, but that’s not a scenario we often see play out. The only time that we really see teams shifting salary space to accommodate a player with a huge price tag is when we see elite players like Peyton Manning on the market. Wallace is good, but he’s nowhere near that level.
In the end, the Dolphins are probably going to either have to stick with Wallace or cut him loose. There’s no reason, from Wallace’s perspective, to negotiate a new contract when there’s currently $15 million on the table for the taking. Perhaps this contract is the true legacy of former Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland.