Throughout the 2015 offseason, the Miami Dolphins front office has been divided on the issue of whether to keep Mike Wallace or trade him away. On the one hand, Wallace was clearly the Dolphins' best scoring threat, having scored 15 touchdowns the past 2 seasons, and he was almost always treated as the Dolphins' biggest threat in the passing game by opposing defensive coordinators, who regularly shifted a safety in Wallace's direction to protect against deep passes. On the other hand, Wallace failed to produce a single 1,000+ yard receiving season in his 2 years as a Dolphin. While some of the blame for that goes to Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill for missing throws and to the Dolphins' offensive line for not consistently protecting Tannehill well-enough for the quarterback to attempt those deep throws, Wallace's inconsistent hands in 2013 and struggles tracking passes in the air in 2014 also played a role in limiting Wallace's production despite ample targets. Last but not least, Wallace's threat to quit playing at halftime of the Dolphins' week 17 game against the Jets in 2014, which led to Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin choosing to officially bench Wallace for the remainder of that game, severely damaged Wallace's reputation within the Dolphins front office.
It was thought that Wallace's contract would make Wallace near untradeable, but that the Dolphins would be able to keep Wallace after restructuring his contract to lower his salary cap hit this year. However, earlier today, various media outlets began reporting that the Dolphins had put Wallace on the trade market, and Armando Salguero reported that Wallace spent an hour on the phone with key members of the Minnesota Vikings (with permission from the Dolphins).
Mike Wallace texted teammates saying he'd been on phone with Minny GM Rick Spielman, HC Mike Zimmer, & he was likely headed to Vikes.— Armando Salguero (@ArmandoSalguero) March 13, 2015
Soon after Salguero's report came the news from ESPN's Adam Schefter that Wallace had been traded.
Vikings traded 5th-round pick to Miami for WR Mike Wallace and 7th-round pick, per league source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 13, 2015
Given the paltry return, it's pretty clear the Dolphins made this trade as a salary dump. Mike Wallace was set to count for $12.1 million against the Dolphins salary cap in 2015, and as a result of this trade, Mike Wallace's dead money cap hit (as a result of the signing bonus he received in 2013) is $6.6 million. Because Wallace was traded away before March 15th, the Dolphins did not have to pay Wallace the $3 million was due to receive if he were still on the team's roster on that date. Therefore, the Dolphins gain $5.5 million in cap space immediately, and Wallace's contract no longer has any impact on the Dolphins' 2016 salary cap sheet.
Because the Dolphins do not get a wide receiver in return, the top four wide receivers on the Dolphins roster after this Wallace trade are Jarvis Landry, Kenny Stills, Rishard Matthews, and Matt Hazel. Recently released Dolphins wide receivers Brian Hartline and Brandon Gibson are no longer available because they quickly signed deals with the Cleveland Browns and New England Patriots, respectively, so the Dolphins picking a wide receiver (or two) in the 2015 NFL draft would appear to be extremely likely. As a result of this offseason's moves so far, the Dolphins go from having the most expensive wide receiving corps in the NFL in 2014 to having one of the cheapest in 2015 (at the moment), with their top 4 wide receivers all being on their rookie deals.
It's widely assumed the Dolphins will use their newfound cap space to re-sign tight end Charles Clay after recently signing former Pro Bowl tight end Jordan Cameron. With more money flowing to tight ends and less going to wide receivers, these moves suggest that the Bill Lazor-coached Dolphins offense could shift to more 2-TE and even 3-TE looks given the development of former 4th round TE Dion Sims, who will be entering his third season in 2015.