Mike Wallace takes off at the snap of the ball, goes long, and catches a 50 yard bomb in the endzone from…. Cam Newton?!
Last week I found a crazy article from Gather.com by a writer by the name of Erik Lambert. He actually ponied up the idea that the Steelers could be thinking about trading within their own division to get Colt McCoy on their squad. Seeing that the Steelers news cycle is slow these days, I decided to give it a full read and then rip it apart in one of my own post. Well folks, he’s at it again. This time, Lambert argues that Mike Wallace is a viable trade from Pittsburgh to Carolina.
While a trade isn’t completely off the table for Wallace at this time, it’s very highly unlikely. Why give something up in return for something you may not really want when you can still get a draft pick (and therefore a younger and potential better value) from a team that desires Wallace? In a way, that is the trade the Steelers are ‘asking’ for if someone wants Wallace – a pretty good receiver for a first round pick. I highly doubt the Steelers would take anything less for that. I also question the validity of a team willing to trade at this point for a receiver like Wallace. If they didn’t want the guy bad enough to give a up a first pick prior to the draft, or haven’t yet since before the OTA’s started, then I doubt they will do it now. If somehow a player trade could be worked out, the Panthers wouldn’t release a good player or two before camp even starts. These kinds of player moves are pretty much done for the off season. The only way a player will join a team these days is if he’s still a free agent with no strings attached. Oh, and who would the Steelers be willing to take? According to Lambert, the offensive line is still in shambles (even though the Steelers just had one of the best drafts for offensive linemen) and would need a guy or two like Jordan Gross and Ryan Khalil. I understand that David DeCastro and Mike Adams are untested in the NFL. But has Lambert ever seen our offensive line block… or lack thereof? They are indeed ‘bad’ (or were) and these two rookies are a huge improvement, even if they have mediocre rookie seasons. Sorry Erik, no trade for linemen.
I think the other thing Lambert misses the boat on is the type of player Mike Wallace is and what the Panthers need. The base of his argument for the Panthers wanting a guy like Wallace is to act as a predecessor to Steve Smith. Even though Smith says he’s got about another three years in him and mind boggingly has no signs of slowing down, somehow Lambert believes the Panthers need another speedster wideout. I disagree with that. Smith piled on the numbers last season and made his way to another Pro Bowl. He’s still one of the fastest guys out there, and at age 33 is somehow still doing it all. The problem with equating Wallace with Smith is that Wallace isn’t even near the skill level of Smith. Smith has two big advantages over Wallace – his route running and hands. Us folks over in Steeler Nation fully understand the limitations that come with Wallace. Sure, his route running has improved but he’s got a long way to go in that department. If the Panthers want a replacement for Smith, they will need someone who can run an ‘in and out’ in his sleep. Not really a strong suit for Wallace. Lambert mentions the up and comings in Carolina, such as Brandon LaFell and David Gettis. But, he says they are fan favorites and discredits their skills in a way. The funny thing is is that Gettis and LaFell are a lot like Antonio Brown and Emanuel Sanders when they were in their 1sr and 2nd seasons. They are very close to being very good and this season could be their breakout. Are the Panters willing to quash one of their young up and coming receivers in order to get snaps to a player who has still yet to develop in his own ways? Seems like a pretty expensive investment for a guy who could share time on the bench with other young guys. I just don’t see this as a good fit. As long as Smith is healthy (and even if he isn’t) and the younger receivers keep producing and improving at a good pace, then the Panthers are in a great position to improve to well over .500.
Ike Taylor could be right, and Wallace could be in camp by the time it starts. If not, this thing will drag out to the bitter end. Unfortunately for Wallace, the Steelers don’t like holdouts and are some stubborn folks. If he is using Hines Ward’s turn at holding out, perhaps he should also put into context the fact that the Steelers had no other good receivers at the time. They needed Ward. Bad. They don’t need Wallace to be good. They don’t need Wallace to be great.
Wallace to Carolina? I guess anything is possible. But I’d hate for Erik Lambert to be my GM. Otherwise, I’d probably end up having Mark Sanchez playing safety for my team. Maybe third time will be a charm?