- Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Speed kills. For the Miami Dolphins, they’re banking on that speed to kill opposing defenses. What it may end up doing is killing their salary cap—and some jobs, especially in the front office.
According to ESPN, Mike Wallace has reached an agreement to join the Dolphins on a five-year, $60 million contract. That deal includes approximately $30 million in guarantees. That capped a Day 1 free-agency extravaganza that also included a five-year, $35 million contract to Dannell Ellerbe, a linebacker who finished the 2012-13 NFL season with 4.5 sacks and zero interceptions.
These moves come about one week after the Dolphins re-signed Brian Hartline to a five-year, $30.775 million contract. At age 26, the four-year veteran has spent his entire career with the Dolphins. He’s coming off a season when he had 74 catches for 1,083 yards and one touchdown. For his career, Hartline only has one season with more than 43 catches. He has six career touchdown receptions.
Let’s review. The Dolphins are spending a combined $90.775 million on two five-year contracts for receivers who either have severely limited production or skill sets. They’re paying more than $6 million per season to a wide receiver who has six career touchdown catches in four seasons. They’re complementing him with a wide receiver who makes $12 million per season who runs 9-routes—and that’s about it.
Despite Wallace turning 27 years old in August, the Dolphins guaranteed approximately $30 million of his contract. As Wallace ages, his speed will decline. As his speed declines, his 9-route effectiveness declines. Once that goes, Wallace becomes useless.
For his career, Wallace averages fewer than four catches per game. He’s an ineffective blocker. Outside of his 9-route, Wallace doesn’t run great routes. He doesn’t possess great hands. He has speed—and that’s about it.
Does that type of production merit $12 million annually? If the Dolphins wanted a track star who forces a safety to play over the top, they could’ve found much cheaper options in the 2013 NFL Draft. Cordarrelle Patterson, Tavon Austin, Marquise Goodwin and Terrell Sinkfield are some options.
Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland (or whoever made these decisions) is either a genius, insane, or he has no idea what he’s doing when it comes to wide receivers. After his fiasco with Dez Bryant, I’m leaning toward the second or third option.