Of all the free-agent wide receivers still on the market, Mike Wallace appears to be the best fit for the Ravens, given the team’s lack of speed and playmaking ability on the outside for much of last season.
Team officials will apparently get a chance to make their pitch to Wallace, who was released by the Minnesota Vikings on Tuesday. According to Sports Illustrated, the seven-year veteran will take a free-agent visit to the Ravens’ facility Monday.
The Ravens’ interest is contingent on Wallace accepting a modest deal, per the report. The Ravens do have approximately $12 million in salary cap space, but wide receiver is hardly their only need. The team is still in the market for a left tackle, pass rusher, cornerback and safety.
Wallace, 29, is coming off arguably the worst season of his career. He struggled to find his place in the Vikings offense, making just 39 catches for career lows of 473 receiving yards and two touchdowns. But the Ravens, who have a strong-armed quarterback in Joe Flacco and love to take deep shots, are viewed as a far better fit for Wallace’s skill set than the wide receiver’s last two teams, the Vikings and Miami Dolphins.
The Ravens have 10 receivers on their roster, but most of them, including starters Steve Smith Sr. and Kamar Aiken, are considered more possession types. Breshad Perriman was drafted in the first round last year to be the team’s deep threat and replacement for departed free agent Torrey Smith. However, Perriman hurt his knee during the team’s first full-squad practice of training camp and he has still yet to play in an NFL game.
Once considered one of the league’s best young receivers, Wallace’s career has hit a bit of a lull since leaving the Pittsburgh Steelers following the 2012 season. In his final three years with the Steelers, Wallace missed only one game and averaged 65 catches, 1,095 receiving yards and just under nine touchdowns per season.
He left Pittsburgh in 2013 and signed a five-year, $60 million pact with the Dolphins, a deal that Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti cited two years later when talking about the team’s efforts to sign Torrey Smith.
Wallace had two solid years with the Dolphins, catching 140 balls for 1,792 yards and 15 touchdowns. But wanting to create salary cap space, the Dolphins traded him to the Vikings for a fifth-round pick. Minnesota wanted to restructure Wallace’s deal this offseason and keep the speedy wide receiver, but they were unable to reach agreement and they let him go.
He’s one of several veteran free-agent wide receivers looking for work. The group also includes former Raven Anquan Boldin, Andre Johnson, Roddy White, Marques Colston, Brandon LaFell, James Jones and Percy Harvin.