Is Mike Wallace’s remaining time with the Miami Dolphins down to days, not years?
NFL Network reported late Wednesday that the team is trying to trade Wallace, based on dissatisfaction with both his level of play and his interaction with coaches and teammates.
Wallace famously sat out the second half of the team’s Week 17 loss to the Jets after frustration over his role boiled over during a sideline dispute.
The Miami Herald reported at the time that Wallace refused to re-enter the game if the team wasn’t going to use him in a way he saw fit. Wallace was brought in to be a deep threat, but the Dolphins essentially turned him into a possession receiver last year.
Fast-forward two months, and NFL Network’s report suggests that the team is at least considering parting ways with its highest-paid player. If he would play for the Dolphins on his current contract, Wallace would cost the team $12.1 million against the cap.
The question in league circles Wednesday: Why would any team give up an asset for him if it believes he can be had cheaper and without surrendering a draft pick in a couple of weeks?
That’s why Wallace, who is due $9.9 million in salary this season (including $3 million guaranteed if he’s on the roster March 14), might ultimately be impossible to move unless he agrees to restructure his contract.
If the Dolphins do indeed want to turn the page, a trade would probably be the best of a bad situation. A trade without a restructure would come with $6.6 million in dead money. If that fails and the Dolphins decide to cut Wallace, they would probably do so before March 14 with a June 1 designation, an accounting trick that would spread the salary-cap pain over two seasons.
If a team would trade for Wallace without reworking his contract, he would be owed $32.8 million over the next three seasons; industry insiders scoff at the idea that he would command anywhere near that on the open market.
Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti gave voice to that sentiment Tuesday, when he told Baltimore reporters: “I don’t think anybody thinks that that was a good deal [for the Dolphins].”
The Dolphins might have telegraphed their thinking this week when they unveiled a preview center promoting their stadium renovations that featured many of their star players. Wallace’s likeness was conspicuously not used in any of the promotional material.