Wide receiver Mike Wallace's journey from underappreciated third-round pick in Pittsburgh to highly paid free-agent experiment in Miami to silent partner in Minnesota nearly came full circle on Tuesday.
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- Collateral damage: Players hurt by free agency
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The team officially announced Wallace's release after trading a seventh-round pick for the wideout almost one year ago. Wallace finished his only season in Minnesota with 39 catches for 473 yards and two touchdowns.
A Pro Bowler in 2011, Wallace saw a rapid rise in stock under Bruce Arians' offense in Pittsburgh, and racked up nearly 200 catches and 26 touchdowns over a three-year span between 2010 and 2012. The Dolphins paid handsomely for his services during an epic free-agency binge in 2013, but came to quickly regret a five-year, $60 million contract for a player they did not know how to use.
That has been the story of Wallace's career since. He fits beautifully with a cannon-armed, mobile quarterback and is still a burner on the outside. Ryan Tannehill and Teddy Bridgewater were not the best fits. Still, Wallace went from 73 catches, 930 yards and five touchdowns in 2013 to 67 catches, 862 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2014 before making even less of an impact in Minnesota.
Could a reunion in Pittsburgh make sense?
The Steelers have not been shy in welcoming back weapons from their past. Wallace, who will turn 30 just before the season opener, probably has some good football left in him under the right circumstances. The list of right circumstances might just be small. Wallace butted heads with coach Joe Philbin in Miami, eventually leading to his ouster.
By default, he quickly becomes one of the better free-agent receivers available in a dismal class.