One of the most hotly contested topics that is likely to endure throughout the next few months is the future of star Dolphins wide receiver, and the team's highest paid player, Mike Wallace. So, in no particular order, lets take a look at 5 reasons why Wallace may be on his way out of the team.
Mike Wallace's behaviour in Week 17
Wallace had a heated exchange with Joe Philbin in the Week 17 loss against the New York Jets, leading him to being benched for the second half of the game. The team have since remained tight-lipped about the incident, but there is no smoke without fire. Remember that awkward post-game interview? Wallace stood in front of the cameras with his arms crossed while wide receiver Brandon Gibson spoke for him. Gibson later admitted he wanted to protect Wallace from saying something he would later regret.
Cold Hard Cash - Wallace's Salary Cap number
Wallace signed a massive $60 million contract when he joined the Dolphins. He was meant to be the missing piece of the puzzle on the wide receiver corps that would provide the deep threat for young quarterback Ryan Tannehill. While Wallace had his best season this year with 10 touchdowns, he is still prone to drops. At this stage of the game, Wallace's contract simply doesn't merit his play on the field. That's not to mention cutting Wallace as a post-June 1 cut will save the team $6.9 million against the salary cap, and allow the team to spread his cap hit over two seasons.
Joe Philbin Staying as Head Coach
Philbin believes strongly in having a locker room full of hard working guys that will work their socks off for the team. He also got particularly burnt from the Wells report over ‘bullygate'. If Philbin thinks Wallace is being a disruption in the locker room, he won't hesitate to let him go.
Ryan Tannehill Contract Extension
With rumours beginning to surface that the team will offer Ryan Tannehill an extension to his contract sooner rather than later, cap casualties will have to be made. With so few quality quarterbacks in the NFL, and Tannehill showing much promise during last season, Tannehill is a lock for being Miami starting quarterback for at least the next few seasons. However, will the team be able to pay a starting-calibre quarterback as well as a highly paid wide receiver?
It just so happens that the 2015 NFL Draft is absolutely stacked with quality young wide receivers in the first three rounds. When Ryan Tannehill gets his big pay day, the Dolphins will need cheaper options at wide receiver. This presents the team with a great opportunity to get at least one receiver in the draft to groom for the future and make an early contribution in their rookie year.
There's no doubt about it that cutting Mike Wallace will leave the Dolphins without a star wide receiver. Moreover, Brian Hartline, Brandon Gibson and Jarvis Landry are not the red-zone threats that Wallace is. However, is Wallace's off-field troubles and inconsistent play really worth it? The Dolphins have a difficult decision to make, but as it stands today, it looks like Wallace may not be on this team for much longer.
Do you agree? Will Wallace still be on this team next season? Lets hear your views!
Alex Parish is an Associate Editor at The Phinsider. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @AlexParish89.