CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora is at it again. After having his reports that the Miami Dolphins were actively looking to trade Dion Jordan, Mike Wallace and Cameron Wake earlier this offseason shot down by the team’s local beat coverage, La Canfora is once again reporting that GM Dennis Hickey and company are shopping Wallace. And, once again, those closer to the team are denying it.
“The Dolphins have spoken to NO ONE about trading WR Mike Wallace — not at annual meeting, not before annual meeting, not at all.” Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald tweeted on Wednesday afternoon before advising Dolphins fans and those intrigued by a possible trade to “Move on.”
The Dolphins having a desire to trade Wallace after the $60-million receiver failed to cross the 1,000-yard plateau during his first year with the club is reasonable. Another team having a desire to acquire Wallace while compensating the Dolphins and simultaneously taking on a $15.05 million cap hit in 2014 isn’t.
Whether you blame Wallace for dropping too many passes (11 in total), not fighting for catches in tight coverage or being too one-dimensional, or whether you blame quarterback Ryan Tannehill for missing on a significant number of potential touchdowns via an under or overthrown deep ball, it’s clear that Wallace’s price didn’t match his worth on Miami’s offense last season. Perhaps he would be a better fit elsewhere where he could reap the benefits of a passer with the competency to routinely hit him stride.
With that said, it’s hard to imagine another franchise taking on Wallace’s contract this season. Cap specialist Dawn Aponte structured Wallace’s deal with the intent on providing Miami with an exit strategy in 2015 and beyond. In doing so, she made Wallace virtually impossible to part ways with in 2014.
Cutting Wallace would deplete the Dolphins’ current cap space by $9.55 million. Trading him would create $8.45 million in additional space, but no team in its right mind would absorb the aforementioned $15.05 million hit to nab him.
2015 will be a completely different story. If the Wallace-Tannehill connection disappoints for the second consecutive season, the Dolphins could actually save $2.5 million in cap space by cutting Wallace next year. Wallace’s contract shifts from a player-friendly deal to a team-friendly deal when the calender turns considering the majority of the guaranteed money he’s due will have already accrued. Thus, Wallace will become more enticing trade bait.
It’s not unreasonable to believe Wallace will rebound with a productive campaign this season. He managed 930 receiving yards and five touchdowns on an offense that had no stable running game to set up play-action and suffered from unimaginative play-calling that didn’t actively seek mismatches, after all. Not to mention if Tannehill would have been accurate on two or three of the numerous deep attempts he missed on, Wallace’s first year in Miami, if not the Dolphins’ 2013 season as a whole, would have been perceived much differently.
Even with those unforeseen deterrents, there’s no arguing that the Dolphins overpaid to land Wallace last spring. But that decision is something Miami will have to live with for at least one more season, barring incredibly poor judgement by a trade partner. In all likelihood, the Dolphins are stuck with Wallace in 2014.
Cody Strahm is a Miami Dolphins contributor for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @CodyJStrahm.