The story is not whether the Dolphins want to sign top free agent wide receiver Mike Wallace. The answer to that is yes, a resounding yes.
Yes, yes, yes.
The story is whether the Dolphins can actually land Wallace.
Wallace is the second biggest free agent this Dolphins administration has ever chased. The biggest was last year, when Miami took a swing and missed with Peyton Manning.
And as the Dolphins havent always been outstanding landing the guys they want Jeff Fisher falls in that group, too its fair to wonder if they can be successful trying to land a player some people within the organization wanted so much they began talking about him last year.
A note here: If youre thinking back to last year and say the Dolphins chased and failed to land quarterbacks Matt Flynn or Alex Smith, I reject that idea. The team placed no must-have priority on either of those players.
The contract offered to Flynn was only borderline starter money, suggesting Miami could take or leave him. So Flynn took the greater certainty in Seattle.
As for Smith, Im not even sure the Dolphins offered him a contract, and if they did, it definitely was not for the $8 million per year he was seeking. So, again, the team wasnt all in on getting Smith.
I dont see that as a failure of any sort. Indeed, hindsight has shown Ireland was wise to steer clear of both quarterbacks.
The Dolphins did, however, fail on Manning. They not only didnt land the biggest free agent theyve ever chased, they also even failed to be among his finalists. Yes, the club managed a meeting with Manning, but if you remember, team representatives had to take a flight to see him. But Manning went to Denver and other places he was truly interested in to speak with those teams.
The Dolphins were in the hunt, but they were the hound way back in the pack gasping for breath and watching the lead dogs tree the game and get the big pat on the head.
(Where the heck did I come up with that analogy?)
Miami has also failed in other free agent attempts, to be sure, but one that should worry is the failed effort to land Ryan Clark. You remember Clark? He came to South Florida via Pittsburgh, apparently ready to sign a deal that would take him away from the Steelers.
He never signed. He returned to Pittsburgh.
Clarks story is that the Dolphins offended him. They reportedly told him how he was flawed and not worth a ton of money. They made him feel unwanted.
The Dolphins have a different version, but that version wont matter until team personnel actually get in front of Wallace and begin the wooing process.
That process will have to quickly erase any negative report Clark might have given Wallace about the Dolphins during their time as Steelers teammates
Despite the Manning miss and Clark fiasco, Im deeply encouraged the Dolphins will land Wallace.
They have enough salary-cap space to do it. Owner Stephen Ross seriously wants a playmaker or three added to the offense, so hes ready to spend. The business side of the organization needs fans to hear some good news. And general manager Jeff Ireland recognizes this offseason could determine his career path.
So the pressure is on. Much is at stake. The clubs will to get Wallace is steeled.
Im not suggesting the Dolphins will be finished shopping in free agency if they land Wallace.