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Sunday, 15 March 2015

Minnesota Vikings Trade for Wide Receiver Mike Wallace

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

The Miami Dolphins got their wish and traded their speedster receiver, Mike Wallace, along with a seventh-round pick to the Minnesota Vikings in exchange for a fifth-round selection according to The Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

That coming just two years after the Dolphins signed Wallace to a five-year, $60 million dollar contract with $30 million guaranteed. To say Wallace's value and NFL reputation has plummeted is an understatement.

Of course, Miami nearly had to release the receiver just to avoid paying him his $3 million bonus he was due this weekend according to The Sports Network, so perhaps the Dolphins can find a small victory in receiving a fifth-round pick for him.

Wallace hasn't been the same receiver since he held out of training camp during the summer of 2012. His team at the time, the Pittsburgh Steelers, wanted to sign him to a long-term deal after he signed a tender to tentatively play 2012 for $2.7 million. The Steelers were asking Wallace to trust that the organization would do right by him, signing him to a more expensive extension after agreeing to the tender.

That was the beginning of a power struggle, which resulted in fellow receiver Antonio Brown, receiving a five-year, $42.5 million extension, the one likely intended for Wallace.

Looking back at it now, it was probably a blessing in disguise for the Steelers to extend Brown instead of Wallace.

Wallace hasn't gained 1,000 yards receiving since his holdout and his yards per catch average, which was tops in the league during his first three seasons, has dropped significantly. From 2009-2011, Wallace averaged 18.7 yards per reception while he has averaged only 12.9 per catch since 2012.

The switch from playing with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger under offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, who loves the vertical aerial attack, to the Dolphins offense with quarterback Ryan Tannehill has certainly played a part in Wallace's downfall. Tannehill has averaged only 6.8 yards per attempt and has taken 139 sacks in three seasons.

In order for Wallace to make plays downfield, the quarterback has to have enough time for the fly pattern to develop.

But Wallace can't blame all his troubles on Tannehill and the Dolphins. In his last season with Roethlisberger, Wallace made 64 catches for 836 yards, which is the second lowest of his career, the lowest coming in his rookie season.

The holdout proved Wallace's sense of entitlement, but the numbers since then have further emphasized the point.  Then he had the nerve, according to the Miami Herald, to tell Dolphins coach Joe Philbin and wide receivers coach Phil McGeoghan during Week 17 that if he wasn't going to receive the ball then he might as well not play.

So he didn't play in the second half, quitting on his team.

There are a lot of prima donnas in the today's NFL, but most of them continue to work hard and get better. Wallace does not appear to be one of them.

Wallace should be better suited for Norv Turner's offense in Minnesota and could help second-year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater take the next step, but until Wallace loses his sense of entitlement, it seems highly unlikely the receiver will return to Pro Bowl status.


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