When discussing potential cap casualties this offseason, Mike Wallace’s name comes up frequently in the discussion. Wallace is coming off of his best season since 2011 totaling 72 catches and 1,017 yards but his pace cooled considerably as the season progressed.
After three touchdowns in the first two games Wallace had none in the second half of the season. He also let his emotions get the best of him when he was visibly frustrated in a December game against the Eagles.
The reason that Wallace is viewed as a potential cap casualty stems from the fact that his cap number more than doubles this season. After a team friendly number of just $3.5 million in 2016, Wallace’s cap hit jumps to $8 million this upcoming season. The Ravens can save a healthy $5.75 million by cutting him, but can they really afford to?
Maybe the team thinks there is a cheaper option that can replicate Wallace’s speed. Breshad Perriman could be that player but the Ravens don’t know yet. Chris Moore is on the roster as well but he’s still an unproven commodity. And while the focus is always on his blazing speed, Wallace proved to be more than simply a deep threat this past season. He frequently turned short crossing routes into long gains and was targeted on intermediate routes as well.
The Ravens are also already losing too many pass catchers. After signing a deal with NFL Network it’s safe to say Steve Smith, Sr. seems firmly entrenched in retirement. Kamar Aiken sounded disgruntled based on the way he was used this past season and seems eager to dip his toe in the free agent water. The Ravens decision makers have tried to sell fans on the importance of continuity this offseason. For an offense that stalled frequently, losing many more pieces could make 2017 look very similar to this past season.
Finally, the Ravens simply lack playmakers. It’s probably the most frequently discussed topic among fans, coaches and the front office. While Wallace is certainly no Antonio Brown or AJ Green he’s the closest thing to a playmaker that’s currently on the Ravens roster. He’s probably the only player who has the potential to score every time he touches the ball.
Wallace seems to enjoy playing in Baltimore. After bouncing around with bad teams and young quarterbacks the Ravens seemed like a perfect fit last offseason for both sides. While the cap number isn’t ideal, it’s hard to believe that Wallace and the Ravens can’t find a compromise in the form of a modest extension. It would be a win for both parties and the Ravens could keep the closest thing to a playmaker they currently have.