Dolphins Land Free Agent WR Mike Wallace

Posted Mar 12, 2013

Former Steeler adds threat of deep ball to Miami’s offense.

Speed is an undeniable asset in today’s NFL and the Miami Dolphins picked up the fastest man on the free agent market today when they signed wide receiver Mike Wallace.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Shortly after the Pittsburgh Steelers selected him in the third round of the 2009 NFL Draft out of Ole Miss, Wallace gave them an immediate return with 39 receptions for 756 yards and six touchdowns as a rookie. He averaged 19.4 yards per catch that season and followed that up with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, making the Pro Bowl in 2011.

Overall, Wallace has career statistics of 235 receptions for 4,402 yards and 32 touchdowns. His 4,042 yards are the tenth highest total among NFL receivers from 2009-12. He also ranks third among receivers in receiving yards per catch with a 17.2 average, trailing only DeSean Jackson (18.3) and Vincent Jackson (18.2) among receivers with 200 or more catches during that time period. He’s also fourth among wide receivers in touchdown receptions over that same period with 32. Also, his 45 receptions of 25 yards or more are the third best from 2009-12.

The Dolphins got to see how big of a playmaker Wallace is up close in 2009 and 2010, as he caught touchdown passes of 54 and 53 yards at Sun Life Stadium. Pittsburgh won both games (30-24 in ’09 and 23-22 in ’10) and he finished with a combined four catches for 117 yards and two touchdowns with an average of 29.2 yards per catch. Those are the type of numbers that fit into General Manager Jeff Ireland’s vision for the 2013 season.

“We are pleased to reach an agreement with Mike Wallace,” said Ireland. “He has a unique skill set which we believe will be a welcomed addition to our offense. We are looking forward to his contributions to the team.”

Wallace’s signing is a big step in the right direction, and coupled with last week’s re-signing of wide receiver Brian Hartline, it gives quarterback Ryan Tannehill three proven targets when you factor in Davone Bess. The speedy Wallace is averaging eight touchdown receptions, with his best season in terms of total yardage (1,257) and touchdowns (10) coming in 2010. He did all of that on just 60 catches for an average of 21.0 yards per catch.

A player with Wallace’s skill set and speed also can be used on end arounds in the running game. He has rushed for 151 yards on 20 carries (7.6 yards per carry) in his career, but he is most effective stretching the field and opening things up underneath for players like Bess and Hartline and the tight ends.

Now Ireland can move forward with his plans to add more playmakers either again through free agency or in next month’s NFL Draft.