Mike Wallace Rumors: Tennessee Titans Would Be Insane To Sign Him
Mike Wallace and the Tennessee Titans? Only in Madden
Maybe Tennessee Titans general manager Ruston Webster has taken this divorce with Jared Cook a little harder than initially believed?
Sports Illustrated senior writer Peter King started a rumor about the Titans wanting to sign Mike Wallace. Many experts consider Wallace as the No. 1 wide receiver in free agency. Wallace could receive a contract that’s more lucrative than the five-year, $56 million deal that Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe signed earlier this week.
Why would the Titans pursue Wallace? They declined to use their franchise tag on Cook. Although Cook is labeled as a tight end, he plays most of his snaps either at slot receiver or wide out. His run-blocking weaknesses kept him from progressing into a traditional tight end. With 44 receptions for 523 yards and two touchdowns during the 2012-13 NFL season, management didn’t believe he was worth a franchise-tag price of more than $10.5 million.
Wallace would bring some positive qualities to Nashville. He’s fast and durable. He’d instantly become the second-biggest star on the team. It creates another reason for defenses to not put an additional defender in the box. That could help Chris Johnson or any complementary running back who gets signed this offseason.
After considering these positives, signing Wallace still defies common sense. It’s also a waste of cents when one considers all of the other deficiencies that are on this roster. There’s no way that this team can spend $10 million or more on a wide receiver, especially one with such a limited skill set.
These are some reasons for why the Titans mustn’t waste their money on Wallace.
27-Year-Old Whose Game Revolves Around the 9-Route
Wallace will turn 27 years old in Aug. He’s a wide receiver whose style revolves around running a 9-route—and that’s about it. Take away that go route and he becomes a non-factor.
Wallace is just 10 months younger than Chris Johnson. Some fans have already expressed concerns that Johnson’s speed has declined. While his run against the New York Jets doesn’t support that theory, it’s reasonable to question how long someone will stay fast. These players can’t afford to lose any of their speed because they’re so dependent on it. One leg injury could have a career-ending impact.
Bad Teams Invest Money Like This
Let’s refer to three wide receivers: Detroit Lions’ Calvin Johnson (eight-year, $132 million), Arizona Cardinals’ Larry Fitzgerald (eight-year, $120 million) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Vincent Jackson (five-year, $55.6 million).
These are considered among the NFL’s five-best receivers. Their teams won a combined total of 16 games. No team won more than seven games.
In 2012, Johnson had one of the best seasons in NFL history. He had 122 catches for 1,964 yards and five touchdowns. He accumulated those numbers while facing constant double and triple coverages.
The Lions finished that season with a 4-12 record. Since Johnson was drafted in 2007, the Lions have one playoff appearance. That stretch includes a 0-16 season.
Not Enough of a Position of Need
The Titans already have a respectable group of wide outs that include Nate Washington, 2012 first-round pick Kendall Wright and Kenny Britt. Britt should have extra motivation because he’s in a contract year. Of course, that doesn’t mean he won’t stay out of legal trouble or re-injure his leg or knee. Michael Preston is another player to watch.
There’s plenty of talent to work with. A good quarterback can win with these weapons. What’s more uncertain is whether Jake Locker is the long-term quarterback. Another concern deals with the interior of the offensive line. Without a quarterback or offensive line, it doesn’t matter who the receivers are; they’re not getting the football. Just ask Fitzgerald.
Position of needs include a No. 2 running back, offensive guard or offensive center, defensive line depth, linebacker depth, cornerback and kicker. While the Titans could use another receiver, they can’t afford to waste half of their money on a gimmick receiver who runs 9-routes—and that’s about it.
Wait—My Contract Requires Me to Block?
Paying $10 million or more for a player who touches the football a few times per game is insane. Now imagine Wallace blocking on those sweeps and outside running plays. You’ll either start hating Wallace or, if you already hate Chris Johnson, you’ll hate him more than ever when he tries to run on Wallace’s side.
Cheaper Options via Draft
Fast receivers in the 2013 NFL Draft include Tavon Austin, Marquise Goodwin, Cordarrelle Patterson and Terrell Sinkfield. Those are off the top of my head. Much more affordable than Wallace.
Offers Little in the Short and Intermediate Passing Game
This goes back to his tendency of running go routes. It doesn’t fit into what has been suggested as a shorter, less complicated passing attack from offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains.
Honestly, Wallace Isn’t That Good
The four-year veteran has never had a season with more than 72 receptions. Only once has Wallace caught more than eight touchdown passes. He’s coming off his worst season, averaging just 13.1 yards per catch. For his career, Wallace averages 3.73 catches per game with one touchdown catch every two games.
How does that merit a huge contract? Simply put, 235 catches in 63 career games doesn’t deserve $10 million. He’s basically a track star playing wide receiver.
Joshua Huffman is a contributor for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter, “Like” him on Facebook, or add him to your LinkedIn and Google networks.