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Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Looking at free agency

Those who don't think Mike Wallace is going to get a big payday in free agency haven't been very realistic.

At look at any of the free agency rankings done on pretty much any web site will tell you that. Wallace is young and fast and productive. The fact is, Wallace has game-changing speed.

Sports Illustrated did a free agency fantasy draft - a different idea - and Wallace was the top pick. CBS Sportsline's Pete Prisco ranks him as the second-best free agent available.

Steelers cornerback Keenan Lewis will also be in demand.

Lewis went with the 22nd choice in the SI draft. Prisco ranked him 18th and third among available cornerbacks.

That should give you an idea of why the Steelers felt the need to sign William Gay.

Guard Ramon Foster went in the 18th round in the four-team SI draft, making him the third, and last, Steelers player on the list.

Interestingly enough, offensive tackle Max Starks was not selected. The four guys picking were trying to build a team by filling every position available, which means Starks could have been the ninth-best tackle rated by the selectors, but that doesn't mean Starks won't get offers on the free agent market.


marc said...

i just don't see how you sign a one-trick pony to a large contract. yes, he's very fast and alters the other team's defense. but he's one "turned ankle" away from being an average WR. i think the steelers made the right decision.

Anonymous said...

Mmmm...boy. MW has alot to look forward too, Tannehill or Wooden. I hope having extra Escalades makes it worth it.

kyle said...

Welker rarely returns kicks and punts so basically he's a shifty and fast slot receiver. Is he a one trick pony? Obviously Wallace doesn't have Welker's production as far as catches but Welker doesn't have Wallace's age. If you don't think speed is extremely important than I suggest you watch some Browns games from the last two years and take notice of the "big body" guys who Steelers fans all seem to want who can't get open deep (it doesn't help that they have stone hands but that's another issue).

Wallace is probably the fastest player at a position where it matters. He has a lot of touchdowns for a guy working in an offense that didn't score a ton. He's young. As much as we like to talk about his attitude it's not like he's gotten into trouble off the field. Somebody is going to pay him. Whether it turns out to be a good decision for that team remains to be seen but it certainly will show that Wallace, despite our protests, was right to turn down the Steelers offer last Summer.

TarheelFlyer said...

Wallace will get paid. Frankly, I don't care if he is gone, but some team will be very happy to have him.

Anonymous said...

Not for nothing, but Josh Gordon is an excellent deep ball receiver. He doesn't run a 4.3, but that doesn't mean he isn't a good deep threat.

marc said...

to try and compare wallace to welker is insane. wallace is faster and that's it. welker is better in every other possible aspect of their position.

i never said speed wasn't important, but rather that is all wallace has going for him. he is an average route runner, average hands, below average ability to fight for the ball, average blocker.

the top flight receivers remain the best even when they lose a step because they know how to get open, they fight for the ball, and they catch darn near everything that comes their way. when wallace loses his step, he will become a dime a dozen WR in the NFL. that is why i don't see how you commit so much money to that guy.

for the record, i never protested when he turned down the steelers as i never wanted them to give him big bucks. actually, i criticized him for making a very stupid decision. i correctly predicted he would hurt his production last season by missing the preseason and that his attitude would also hold him back. now, his value is less than it was before.

recently on cleveland radio there was a former nfl gm, i can't remember who it was, that made a very insightful comment: basically that rarely do players the steelers let go move on to bigger and better things.

i'm not saying wallace is bad, far from it. but he doesn't justify the big bucks and will likely underperform any big contract he ends up getting.

Dale Lolley said...

Wallace is hardly a one-trick pony. He's not the most complete receiver in the league, but he's hardly "just" a deep threat.

Eric T said...

I'll never understand the Wallace is a one trick pony argument. He has lead are team in just about every category the last couple of years except for targets and drops. He was right to reject the Steelers best offer, because he will get a bigger offer in free agency.

I hope the Steelers can reproduce the 8-10 TDs a year he was good for.

Lance said...

So id Wallace has "game changing speed" Why does he not change games? I just don't buy that he does that much to help out with coverage, sorry. Look at the super bowl winning teams, who had a reciever with that type of speed? The steelers last two super bowls? Nope. Wallace will get paid and we will see how much value his speed has on a subpar team without Ben throwing him the ball.
He has made some impressive breakaway plays, but I have not seen him be a game changer. Recievers are expected to make big plays, it comes with the position, heck Boldin looked awfully good in the Ravens super bowl run, and then again I have seen him look just awful in the last two years as well.

marc said...

per game averages for wallace and brown for the past 2 seasons:

wallace: 4.3 rec, 7.2 targets, 65.5 yards, .5 td's, 2.8 first downs.

brown: 4.8 rec, 8.1 targets, 65.3 yards, .25 td's, 3.5 first downs.

the numbers don't justify the perception of wallace being a great WR. barring injury, brown will be successful longer in the NFL than wallace.

Lance said...

I agree Marc, as a whole having a "game changing" speed guy in the NFL has just not produced championships, sorry. Chris Johnson is super fast, and a good back, how is that working out? The most important person on the O is Ben, as long as he is there we have a chance at a championship. Look at the stat line for wr's for the last two super bowls we won, Ward, Randle El, Wilson and Ward, Holmes, Washington.

Henigin said...

That's a ridiculous argument. No team wins with just one playmaker on offense, and if you think the Steelers are a better team without Wallace then you're just not thinking straight. Having a guy like that makes defenses prepare for and consciously defend the speed and opens up other possibilities as a result. "Game changing speed" could mean that player changes the game on a single play with his speed (like Jacoby Jones in the SB or Wallace his first 1.5 seasons), or it could mean that it makes the offense more effective as a whole, which is what Wallace did for the Steelers more recently.

Henigin said...

AND the Ravens have two "game changing speed guys" - Torrey Smith & Jacoby Jones. So to say it just doesn't produce championships ignores our most recent data point

Eric T said...

Since 2009, no WR has more 40-yard catches (27) or 40-yard TDs (16) than Mike Wallace. He's going to be a rich man.

via Chris Wessling

Lots of guys have speed, nobody has produced with that speed as Wallace has. Additionally, I believe he leads Steeler WR in Redzone TDs in that span to.

I understand the Steelers not wanting to invest so much cap in 1 position group, and I like Brown a lot. But losing Wallace is going to have a big impact on the offense. Hopefully they can find another 3rd round gem.

kyle said...


I know Josh Gordon can run. That's why I said the last two years because if you just go by last year he would be a good example. Thanks for mentioning him though, I forgot.


Actually, I have seen no evidence that Wallace's value has been hurt. You were saying last summer that Wallace should take the Steelers offer because if he gets hurt or has a bad year he won't get much above it. He is pretty much the most sought after free agent and will get a contract much higher than the one Brown got, which many of us assume they offered to Wallace first (with no evidence). Wallace made the right decision, at least as far as his finances are concerned.

marc said...

well, we'll just have to wait and see how the money shakes out for wallace. i don't think he'll get what he thinks he is worth. reporters picking in a fantasy draft doesn't mean squat. i have now heard two different previous nfl execs say they would take jennings from green bay over wallace.

Anonymous said...

Give me the next Hines Ward over MW any day..

"Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn't work hard"

Henigin said...

The one thing that Wallace did miss out on was getting paid (relatively) well for the 2012 season. People will say he "won" and got a much better deal in free agency, but that's one less year he makes premium dollars in his career. He'll likely make up for it in the bidding war for his UFA services, but I'm not so sure he'll get that much more over his career now, especially considering that this makes his next contract year come a year later.

TarheelFlyer said...

The "since 2009 over 40 yards" stat is very easy to understand. BA LOVED to throw the ball deep. He had a guy with excellent speed and used that to his advantage.

Personally, I like Wallace as a receiver, but like I have said before, to me, he and Brown were both #2 receivers. He is not a #1 guy. Why? Cause he isn't complete enough to be a #1 guy. Welker isn't a number 1 guy either. Yeah, he catches a ton of balls, but he has other weaknesses to his game.

A #1 guy is someone who can do everything you need him to do. He needs to be able to run the deep ball well enough for it to be respected. He needs to be a redzone threat. He needs to be able to fight and win those 50/50 balls. He needs to be able to convert those 3rd down and shorts when you need them. There are VERY few of those guys in the NFL and therefore some guys who have specialty skills like this get paid big bucks. Running a 4.3 40 is great, but it isn't so much better than running a 4.4 40 if you can also run the shorter routes effectively and if doesn't help at all if you can't get off the line of scrimmage in press coverage.

Speed is a tool of a receiver but does not an elite receiver make.

kyle said...

I agree with pretty much everything you said, Tarheel. I would make one addition though. Teams looking to bring in a free agent won't be as discerning. The fact that Welker, Wallace, and Jennings are not true #1 guys is not going to keep Miami or Minnesota or a team like that from overpaying. Mike Wallace is going to make a lot more money than he would have as a Steeler. Whether that is better for his career I can't say. He's going to get more money than any WR on the Steelers' roster, that's about the only thing I'll say for sure about all of this.

Slab said...

it's all about worth to a team. Wallace is worth more to another team than he is to the Steelers, in part because there is a salary cap. The Steelers have money tied up in more valuable positions. If you don't have a $100 million dollar QB, it's a lot easier to pay big money to a WR. But you are better off having a QB worth big money than a WR worth big money.... The Steelers will need to get big WR production from young guys as long as they have Ben. The Ravens will likely have trouble signing Torrey Smith when he hits the open market now that they signed Flacco.

marc said...

i just flipped thru someone's list of top 50 FA's available. i wasn't interested in the rankings, but rather to get an idea of what's available.

one guy jumped out at me and i was curious as to whether the steeler's would be interested: Lechler from the Raiders.

they say he had a down year, but that was still a quantum leap better than what the steelers trotted out on 4th down. i don't know what he would command dollar wise, but it was a thought. i've always believe good punters are as important as good FG kickers.

Anonymous said...

Am I missing something, or does an attempt to resign Ramon Foster mean that Willie colon is about to get the ax?

Anonymous Brian said...

Hope so. I know cutting Colon doesn't save much cap space but it's better than wasting his entire salary on the 1/2 of a season he might make it through.

Harrison has done enough for the franchise that he's earned the right to get paid or get cut, period. I can't believe they ask him to take a pay cut and not Colon.

I would cut Ike to keep Keenan Lewis, if it came to that.

I like Chase Daniel as a backup QB if it could be done.

TE Fred Davis while Miller rehabs? LB Ernie Sims? (I don't know the $$$, just thinking about a Ryan Clark/Mewelde Moore-type signing)

Anonymous said...

I like the way you think. Both Fred Davis and Ernie simms would both be great additions to the team. Immediate upgrade over Larry foote, and a starting TE to ease the load til Heath comes back and a great 1-2 punch when he does return.

kyle said...

Fred Davis tore his achilles. I don't know if he's a good stopgap for an injured Miller.

Anonymous said...

Mike "Randel El" Wallace. He'll be back on the team for a single season in 4 years.