Baltimore Ravens wide receiver, Mike Wallace is set to be a free agent this offseason and could see a decent payday from a team that needs a speedy number two receiver. But are the Ravens that team that needs Wallace the most, and should they bring him back for next season?
Wallace, who just finished his ninth season in the NFL, is going to be 32 before the 2018 season starts. He is coming off statistically his second worst season of his career, recording 52 receptions for 748 yards and only four touchdowns, while also missing one game due to a concussion.
The Ravens are in desperate need of a true number one receiver, and have brought in older veterans through free agency to try and patch up the offense. Steve Smith Sr. came in 2014, Wallace in 2016, and recently Jeremy Maclin this past season. They also went to the draft to find answers in selecting Breshad Perriman in the first round of the 2015 draft and Chris Moore in the fourth round back in 2016. Perriman has been the living embodiment of the “bust” label, while Moore stepped up immensely down the stretch this past season with Maclin hurt and Perriman getting benched.
This free agency is set to be loaded with receivers. Names like Jarvis Landry, Terrelle Pryor, and Sammy Watkins lead the pack, with a bunch of complementary receivers to follow. The Ravens are going to do whatever it takes to get a receiver like Calvin Ridley or Courtland Sutton in the upcoming draft, but they need to sign at least one receiver in free agency.
I believe that Wallace will be the best receiver the Ravens can get for the price. Landry is going to get a hefty payday, one of which the Ravens are nowhere able to spend. Pryor could be affordable, due to his performance this past season, but teams will be hesitant on bringing him in as a top option.
Wallace knows the Ravens system and has proven he can excel in it. He had over 1000 yards in it during the 2016 season and was the number one option for Joe Flacco during the second half of the season.
With rumors swirling about Maclin getting cut, (which he should not be) and Perriman becoming a third option at absolute best, the Ravens need that proven talent when games get tough. Put him on one side, Ridley/Sutton opposite of him, and Maclin in the slot and you could have an offense that could continue what it did during the second half of this past season.
Wallace should, and most likely will come back to the Ravens next season. He has been adamant about wanting to stay in Baltimore and his talent is something they still need. I can see him and the Ravens agreeing on a one year deal with a team option for year two at around $1.5-$2 million per year.