clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Point-Counterpoint: Should the Steelers consider bringing back WR Mike Wallace?

New, comments

With news of Martavis Bryant's one-year suspension, should the Steelers consider bringing back Mike Wallace?

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Wallace was the Steelers third-round pick in 2009, a wide receiver out of Ole Miss with promising speed, route-running ability and NFL potential. Wallace exceeded all expectations with a phenomenal inaugural season that earned him Pittsburgh Steelers Rookie of the Year honors. His performance dropped off, and his time with the Steelers ended in 2012. After two unproductive years with the Miami Dolphins and a lackluster season with the Minnesota Vikings in 2015, Wallace is once again a free agent.

Should the Steelers consider signing Mike Wallace? Bryan DeArdo of 247 Sports and BTSC contributor Dani Bostick defend opposite sides of the argument.

Bryan DeArdo: No way. The Steelers should not sign Mike Wallace.

Re-treads at wide receiver don't normally work out, with Plaxico Burress being just one recent example of this.

While he wouldn't be an expensive acquisition, Wallace isn't close to what he once was in Pittsburgh. He caught 97 less passes than Antonio Brown last season, and was deemed expendable by the Vikings, his second time since leaving the Steelers four seasons ago.

Wallace is still a one-trick pony; a good deep ball threat but has never become a good route runner. And, as he turns 30 before the start of the regular season, Wallace's ability to beat corners on deep routes will start to diminish, if it already hasn't.

Lastly, the team should have faith in the guys that have arrived after Wallace, like Markus Wheaton and Darrius Heyward-Bey and Sammie Coates. These guys have worked hard and deserve an opportunity to step up in Martavis Bryant's absence, and should't be passed over for a guy that had less catches than DeAngelo Williams did last season.

Dani Bostick: Yes! Bring back Mike Wallace

Wide receiver Martavis Bryant will serve a one-year suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy and miss the 2016 season. This unfortunate turn of events leaves the Steelers without a menacing weapon on offense. While the team can still rely on superstar receiver Antonio Brown, Bryant's suspension coupled with Heath Miller's retirement changes the face of the Steelers offense.

Mike Wallace performed well for the Pittsburgh Steelers during his first three season with the team, tallying 1,257 yards in 2010 and 1,193 yards in 2011. He was less productive with the Miami Dolphins in 2013 and 2014. He also had a disappointing season with the Minnesota Vikings in 2015, finishing the year with only 473 receiving yards and two touchdowns.

Losing Wallace to the Miami Dolphins did not hurt the Steelers at all. Antonio Brown turned out to be a more talented and reliable player. The loss of Martavis Bryant, however, could diminish Brown's productivity. The combination of Brown and Bryant was a nightmare for opposing defenses, especially with Ben Roethlisberger at the helm and two ground threats in running backs Le'Veon Bell and DeAngelo Williams.

Darrius Heyward-Bey, Markus Wheaton and Sammie Coates are not on the same level as Bryant, but Wallace has played at that level in the past. Surely, Wallace has tamed his ego during the last few seasons. His talent has also diminished. The combination of these two factors could mean a bargain for the Steelers.

Richard Mann is an extremely effective position coach, turning late-round talent into true game-changers. Wallace is worth a look. Though he has a problem hanging on to the ball (as did Martavis Bryant in 2015), Wallace still has tremendous speed. Opposite Brown, Wallace could provide enough of a vertical threat to confound defenders.