By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor
Leading up to the start of free agency, Sports Talk Philly and Eagledelphia will be taking a look at the players on the Eagles roster who are scheduled to become free agents this offseason and how the team should look to handle each.
In this edition, we will be covering wide receiver Mike Wallace.
A third-round pick of the Steelers in 2009, Wallace made an immediate impact for his team. Not only did he appear in every game of the season, but he lead the league in yards per reception, establishing his ability as a downfield threat early on.
The following season, he actually raised his yards per reception from 19.4 to 21 and managed his first 1,000 yard season. While he managed to reach 1,000 yards in his third season, he took a step back in 2012 and it ended up being his last season in Pittsburgh.
He signed with the Miami Dolphins and had two good seasons prior to being traded to the Vikings for a fifth-round pick. Wallace had the worst season of his career (other than 2018) that year and was cut the next offseason.
After a pretty good stint with the Ravens (one of his two seasons there was a 1,000 yard season), Wallace signed a one-year deal with the Eagles. Expected to be the downfield threat, Wallace suffered an ankle injury in week two when he registered what would have been his first catch with the team. A holding penalty called the play back and Wallace never recorded a meaningful stat. He was activated from IR for the Eagles final five games, but remained inactive for every game.
The only known receivers set to return to the Eagles are Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor. Beyond that, the team has Mack Hollins, Shelton Gibson, Marken Michel, Johnny Holton, Braxton Miller, Dorren Miller and Carlton Agudosi.
Out of all of those players, I think Jeffery is the only sure thing to make the team with Agholor closest behind him. The Eagles have Agholor on his fifth-year option from his rookie contract and he carries a $9 million cap hit. The team will look to sign Agholor to a new deal and get him under contract for an extended period of time with a lower cap hit. Mack Hollins has a shot at making the roster, but is nowhere near a lock after missing the entire 2018 season with a mysterious injury. Shelton Gibson spent the entirety of 2018 on the active roster and managed only one reception the entire season. He is likely gone unless he shows significant improvement.
Beyond that, the rest of the group are not likely to make the roster, but Braxton Miller and Marken Michel have experience in the NFL and CFL respectively. That previous performance with a strong camp could win either of the pair a spot on the active roster.
Wallace had a cap hit of $4 million in 2018. He intended to prove he could catch passes all over the field and be more than just a deep threat. It’s pretty safe to say he didn’t do that this season.
As it stands, Wallace is a speed guy who will be 33 years old and entering his 11th season in the league coming off a major ankle injury that sidelined him for an entire season. It is hard to imagine that he will receive a lot of attention on the market and a veteran minimum deal seems to be highly likely.
The Eagles may have Mack Hollins able to stretch the field along with Agholor in 2019, but they cannot count on Jeffery maintaining perfect health and Agholor being the only option. Wallace knows the offense and has chemistry with the team (though not with Wentz). The Eagles really have no reason not to bring Wallace back to a veteran minimum deal, although they should not get into a bidding war for his services.
Decision: Re-Sign to Veteran Minimum
PREVIOUS SERIES ENTRIES:
Eagles Free Agent Evaluation: Brandon Graham
Eagles Free Agent Evaluation: Jordan Hicks
Eagles Free Agent Evaluation: Ronald Darby
Eagles Free Agent Evaluation: Jay Ajayi
Eagles Free Agent Evaluation: Golden Tate
Eagles Free Agent Evaluation: Jordan Matthews
Eagles Free Agent Evaluation: Richard Rodgers
Eagles Free Agent Evaluation: Haloti Ngata