With free-agent signings only a few hours away, hopes for the Pittsburgh Steelers to re-sign their former top-receiver have faded into distant memory as the competition over Mike Wallace is about to get heated.
Since the outset of the off-season, the Miami Dolphins have unashamedly declared a desire to sign the disgruntled Steeler, with a reported estimated value of around $12 million per season. According to PFT, the Minnesota Vikings may be prepared to push the yearly salaries to an average of $13 million or possibly even more.
After trading Percy Harvin to the Seattle Seahawks, the Vikings will be searching for receiving help to bolster a poor passing offense which relies too heavily on the run because of uber-talented Adrian Peterson. Even with Harvin's skill-set, Wallace's speed alone should help open running lanes for Peterson, while stretching defenses allowing Christian Ponder to find open targets.
Miami wants to open up their offense for sophomore quarterback Ryan Tannehill, although with Reggie Bush departing in free-agency, they will also be in need for a running back - one reason they were also so interested in Rashard Mendenhall. The Dolphins are one of the few teams with the cap space to undertake such an endeavor as to sign both; however, with teams like the Vikings and Cardinals competing with them every step of the way, they may end up losing out on both.
It is unclear as to exactly how high either team is willing to push it. Wallace's game is primarily predicated on his speed, and he still carries the same risk vs. reward ratio which prevented him from being a first-round pick when he entered the NFL Draft originally. Wallace has been very clear, even from the beginning of his refusal to sign his RFA tender in 2012 - he wants long-term guarantees. Obviously, a team will need to meet his demands to win his allegiance.
Both teams have the ability to take on such a significant salary cap hit, and both are desperate for game-changing talent. Time will tell if Wallace is the kind of talent which a team can build around, or instead, in spite of; and also, if he was actually worth the melee about to go down in his honor.
Expect fist-fulls of dollars of fury when the 4 PM ET deadline rolls around this afternoon.