The first of what will be some big free agent dominoes fell today as Mike Wallace was signed by the Miami Dolphins to a five-year, $65 million contract that includes $30 million guaranteed. This is the biggest set of free agent signings in Miami since the Dolphins added Karlos Dansby (who was ironically released today) and Brandon Marshall in 2010.
Editor’s Note: LeBron James doesn’t count.
Over his four year career in Pittsburgh, the speedy Wallace posted 235 catches for 4,042 yards and 32 touchdowns, averaging 17.2 yards per catch. Wallace brings the deep threat and legitimate receiving weapon Ryan Tannehill has desperately needed.
We examine the dynasty ramifications of the trade as we go player-by-player:
Mike Wallace, WR MIA
Wallace got his big payday and he’ll be expected to produce like a WR1 for Miami. He’s likely never going to be a player who gets 90 catches in a season, but he makes the most of what he gets, as indicated by his gaudy yards per catch average. The Dolphins were desperate for receiving help and Wallace should be the perfect complement to Davone Bess and Brian Hartline (or the other way around). If Lamar Miller can develop into a good runner, the Dolphins will finally have some legitimate weapons on offense.
Our current ADP data shows Wallace as the WR19, with an ADP of right around 48, or the end of round four in a start-up draft. This move will likely move Wallace up a few spots, but the fourth round seems about right. Wallace is best served as a WR2 in dynasty leagues, but he’s one of only a handful who can put up some truly monster games for you. Much of his value will depend on the development of Ryan Tannehill.
Ryan Tannehill, QB MIA
This is big for Tannehill.
The Dolphins didn’t have anyone who could take the top off a defense last year and Wallace is one of the league’s best at doing just that. With Wallace keeping defenses honest, it should open things up for the passing game. Tannehill had a pretty good season, but the problem is he was in a class with amazing quarterbacks like Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson, so many look at his production as disappointing. His stats aren’t incredible (3,294 passing yards, 12 touchdowns and 13 interceptions), but he passes the eye test.
With Wallace in tow, the Dolphins now have a much more complete offense. Lamar Miller and the running game will have to be better, but Tannehill is poised to have a much improved Sophomore season. He’s still a developmental player in dynasty leagues, but he’s also considered a “buy” candidate based on this news and the unfair comparisons some are using to judge his value.
Brian Hartline, WR MIA
The Dolphins re-signed Hartline to a five-year, $31 million contract with $12.5 million guaranteed this off-season and now have their starting wideouts locked up for a while. Hartline had a pretty good season last year with 74 catches for 1,083 yards, but only scored one touchdown. With Wallace on the squad, Hartline won’t be viewed as a the primary receiving weapon by the defense and he should be able to repeat last year’s numbers, even without the luxury of being the team’s top option.
Davone Bess, WR MIA
Bess is a yearly chic pick in dynasty PPR leagues as a sleeper, but he pretty much is what he is at this point. He’s going to return to his slot position if the Dolphins don’t choose to go in another direction, but temper your expectations even with Wallace in town.
Rishard Matthews and Armon Binns, WRs MIA
One more road block to playing time.
Lamar Miller, RB MIA
All signs are pointing towards Miller getting a legitimate shot to be the Dolphins primary running back next season. Having a player as talented as Wallace to keep defenses honest can’t hurt his chances of succeeding.
Ben Roethlisberger has always found a way to get his numbers when healthy, but the loss of Wallace is going to force some other players to step up and produce, most notably Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown. The Steelers new offense isn’t predicated on the deep ball, so they’ve already adjusted in some ways to life without Wallace. The Steelers may well be in the market for a wide receiver in the draft or via free agency, so stay tuned on that front.
For the complete free agency rundown, visit our Offensive Free Agency Blog in our Premium Content that details each and every relevant move. We also have an IDP Free Agency Blog this year that covers all the IDP moves as they come in.