The decision the Miami Dolphins have to make with regards to wide receiver Mike Wallace and the $9.9 million he will count against the salary cap in 2015 is getting closer to its deadline. Miami will have to make a move by March 15 if they plan to unload Wallace, getting him off the roster before his $3 million guarantee kicks in. Based on what Dolphins Vice President of Football Operations Mike Tannenbaum told 940 WINZ this morning, that decision may be made soon.
Miami has three options when it comes to Wallace: keep him, trade him, cut him. It really does boil down to those three simple moves. If they keep him, he is paid the $9.9 million, the team and receiver work to put behind them the drama that found Wallace on the bench for the second half of the team's 2014 finale, and start to move forward. If they trade him, he still counts for $6.6 million against the salary cap, but would give Miami $5.5 million in instant space. If they cut him, he is $9.6 million in dead money for 2015, with $2.5 million in instant space, or they can designate him a June 1 cut, which would cut his dead money for 2015 to $5.2 million (with the rest in 2016), giving the team a $6.9 million savings. The June 1 designation, however, means Miami would not see that savings until June 2. (Click here for the explanation of why.)
A fourth option could have been on the table, and it was one the Dolphins were reported to be exploring, where Wallace and the Dolphins restructure his contract. According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel's Omar Kelly, Wallace has told the Dolphins he is not willing to renegotitate. The receiver would rather hit the free agent market this offseason than take a lower dollar amount from the Dolphins.
All of this seems to be heading toward a divorce between Wallace and the Dolphins. Tannenbaum did not downplay that possibility when he was on 940 WINZ, stating, "Mike is a guy who is under contract for now. We're discussing all our options For now Mike is under contract and we'll see where things go from there."
Reports Wednesday night from NFL Network indicated the Dolphins were shopping Wallace, but a trade is not expected to materialize as teams wait out Miami to see if they will release him. It is probably a good bet at this point, as it sounds more and more like Wallace is done in Miami.
Behind Wallace on the depth chart, Miami currently has Brian Hartline, Jarvis Landry, Brandon Gibson, Rishard Matthews, Matt Hazel, Tyler McDonald, and Michael Preston. Hartline and Gibson could both be salary cap casualties this year, leaving second-year player Jarvis Landry the top option and meaning the Dolphins would be looking for a lot of help at the position, either in free agency or in the Draft.