Free agency's two biggest prizes on the wide receiver market have landed with their new teams: Greg Jennings signed with the Minnesota Vikings while Mike Wallace inked a big-money deal with the Miami Dolphins. Which wide receiver will have a bigger impact on his new team in 2013?
Wallace joins a franchise QB, while Jennings must depend on a suspect signal-callerMike Wallace is a bigger difference-maker because of his speed. But the real reason he's the easy answer here is because of the quarterback who will be delivering the ball to Wallace.
Ryan Tannehill got lost in the rookie quarterback shuffle last season, but he looks like a true franchise guy. He can make every throw, which you can't say about the Vikings' Christian Ponder. Jennings' impact will be mitigated because he's joining one of the worst passing games in the league in Minnesota.
Jennings will post better numbers, but Wallace's speed will open things up for MiamiI believe Greg Jennings will put up bigger numbers on catches and yards because he will be the main receiver in Minnesota. Of course, they won't be great numbers, due to the Vikings' emphasis on the run and the fact that Christian Ponder is inconsistent.
Mike Wallace will have a bigger impact on the game from a defensive perspective because he forces every D to account for his speed. This will, in turn, open things up for the other phases of Miami's offense.
Wallace might not be the better player, but he'll have the bigger impactMy answer: Mike Wallace. While Greg Jennings is a complete player, the Vikings' offense still runs through Adrian Peterson. Moreover, Wallace brings a vertical presence that Jennings doesn't -- at least not at this stage of his career.
This is not to suggest that Wallace is a better player by any means. Nonetheless, his effect on the football field should be huge for a Dolphins attack that was often constrained in 2012, seemingly playing half-court offense.
Can Wallace succeed in a traditional offense? Is Jennings a downgrade from Harvin?I worry about Mike Wallace in a more traditional offense. After all, he catches about four passes per game, and his success is predicated on playing "street ball" -- his best ability is to make a play when everything breaks down and the QB can buy all sorts of time. That said, Wallace remains the answer to this question if you're judging by overall "impact." Even though I think he's going to struggle in this new offense, he's an added piece, not a replacement one. Wallace still demands the most attention from a defense, giving the rest of Miami's weapons (like Brian Hartline and Dustin Keller) more room to operate, thus making the Dolphins' offense more dangerous.
As for the Vikings, did they get more dangerous? Tell me who you'd rather have as a WR: Jennings or Percy Harvin? Harvin's a dynamic playmaker who can affect the game from anywhere on the field. Jennings is still a good receiver, but the days of teams being effective with a No. 1 wideout -- and a surrounding cast of nobodies -- are over. Teams that are the most successful have a talent base of pass catchers that goes three or four deep. At best, the Vikings are treading water by, in essence, replacing Harvin with Jennings; more than likely, it's going to result in a slight decrease in overall impact. Well, unless they use every draft pick to find some new pieces at wide receiver. And I'm only half-joking about that.
Jennings is in for a rude awakening in MinnesotaGreg Jennings will find life difficult going from Aaron Rodgers to Christian Ponder and/or Matt Cassel. It reminds me of an actor who ultimately regrets his decision to leave TV for the movies. Only in this case, Jennings is leaving the cast of a summer blockbuster to appear on a local cable show.
Mike Wallace might not enjoy the production his huge contract would dictate, but his presence (and speed) will provide a ripple effective that benefits Ryan Tannehill and the running game.
Wallace will fit right in with FinsIn this debate, the edge goes to Mike Wallace. The Dolphins will build the offense around his vertical abilities. The talented Greg Jennings, meanwhile, is going from a wide-open offense in Green Bay where the vertical attack was paramount to an offense that is built around the most dominant running back in the league, Adrian Peterson. Jennings will be challenged to make the same type of impact with the Vikings.