The Ravens have been more active in Free Agency this year than anyone would have expected. Yesterday, I wrote about the signing of Eric Weddle (http://footballdrafting.com/ravens-eric-weddle-agree-to-4-year-deal-27404/) and just over an hour ago, news broke that Baltimore signed Mike Wallace as well. It looks like having one of the worst records in the NFL last year is pushing the Ravens to get back to championship-caliber football as quickly as possible.
Around 2:00 PM, it was announced that the Ravens agreed to a 2 year, $11.5 million deal with Wallace. It’s another solid move by the Ravens who desperately needed some type of addition to the WR corps. Though Breshad Perriman should be back in 2016 and offer some needed help, he is still young. Kamar Aiken showed up as one of the better players in the league when he replaced Steve Smith (ranking 19th among qualified WR).
The real question here is can you have too many skilled receivers? After the injury bug hit Baltimore at a historic rate last year, I think not. Wallace is a veteran deep threat who is savvy enough to make smart plays.
Wallace has always specialized as a deep threat that could break the top off of a defense. His last high quality season was in Pittsburgh with another strong-armed QB in Ben Roethlisberger. But, don’t get too down on Wallace. Before assuming he’s fallen off the face of the earth, we should look at his quarterbacks since leaving Pittsburgh.
In 2015 Wallace had the worst season of his career. He didn’t fit in with Minnesota’s scheme and had a weak-armed QB in Bridgewater. He only mustered 473 yards and 2 TD. He did, however, manage to average 12.1 yards per catch. Bridgewater ranked as the 13th best quarterback last year, just barely beating out Jay Cutler. Bridgewater’s downfield accuracy has always been a question mark, and that is what Mike Wallace’s game depends on.
Wallace was in Miami in 2013 and 2014. In both seasons, the average fan may have assumed that Wallace didn’t do well, but I would argue he was still highly competitive. In 2013, Wallace had 930 yards and 5 TD. He was one of only 23 players in the NFL to do so in 2013. In 2014 Wallace had 862 yards and 10 TD. He was one of only 10 players to reach both of those stats. He did have the least yards of any WR who had 10 TD, but the point is, he was able to get in the endzone.
What this tells me is that Wallace is still a great WR. He may never live up to the 1257 yards and 10 TD that he had in 2010 with Pittsburgh, but he’s also not washed up. Like signing Eric Weddle, the Ravens are taking a chance on a proven veteran who is coming off of a down year. It’s a lot like the Ravens taking the best player available in the draft.
You can never have enough really good players. It’s easy to see a more polished version of Torrey Smith when you look at Mike Wallace. Smith averaged 898 yards and 8 TD per season while with the Ravens. I see those as a reasonable expectation for Wallace.
The Ravens are making a splash in Free Agency which is unusual for them. The beauty of it is that they’re not going after the over-priced players who aren’t going to live up to the expectation of their contract. Marvin Jones just signed up for $8 million per year, while his former teammate Mohammad Sanu signed up for $6.5 million per year. Of the three, I like Wallace the most, and he comes with the lowest guarantee. Ozzie Newsome is being smart about the players he picks up. It should be interesting to watch Baltimore bounce back their second 4-12 season in franchise history.