After failing to make an impact last season, with 39 receptions for 473 yards and two touchdowns, wide receiver Mike Wallace was released by the Minnesota Vikings on Tuesday. He will now be one of the more notable names in a thin class of free agent wide receivers, but at 30 years old by the time next season starts, Wallace’s market is likely to be limited.
Wallace’s best years came with the Pittsburgh Steelers, particularly back-to-back very good seasons in 2010 and 2011, and another AFC North team seems to be first in line with interest in him now.
Ravens clearing cap space… told they’d like to add a tight end. And looking seriously at Mike Wallace too. If the price is right.
— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) March 9, 2016
Since leaving the Steelers in 2013 for a big money contract with the Miami Dolphins, Wallace’s production has declined. Some of that can be blamed on offensive systems in Miami and Minnesota that did not highlight his deep speed, along with quarterbacks in Ryan Tannehill and Teddy Bridgewater who struggle to challenge defenses downfield, but Wallace is also past his prime and in a decline phase of his career.
The Ravens need wide receiver help, with a couple question marks related to injury (Steve Smith, Breshad Perriman) and an underwhelming group otherwise. Wallace obviously comes with his own questions, on and perhaps off the field going back to his time in Miami, but he is the kind of veteran player Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome may target in free agency.
To have any chance to revive his career, Wallace needs to find a team with a quarterback who can throw a deep ball effectively. Joe Flacco fits that bill immediately, assuming he is back from a torn ACL in time for Week 1. But it’s fair to wonder if the Ravens will be the only team with any sort of immediate interest in Wallace.