Thursday, February 23, 2012

Should the Jets Go After Mike Wallace?

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The Jets restructed D'Brickashaw Ferguson's contract today, saving $7.5 million this season by taking the $9 million owed to him and turning it into a signing bonus split over the next six seasons of his deal. While many Jets' fans would love for this money to be spent on Texans' outside linebacker Mario Williams, does throwing some of this money at speedy Steelers' receiver Mike Wallace make sense?

The Jets want to get younger and faster at receiver. The 25-year old Wallace, who ran a 4.33 at the 2009 NFL Combine and has averaged 18.7 yards per reception in his three-year NFL career, would fit that bill better than any other receiver on the market besides DeSean Jackson, who is surprisingly still just 25 himself.

Jackson has had his share of issues both on and off the field, however, while Wallace hasn't. The Steelers also have cap issues that may preclude them from matching offers to Wallace, who is a restricted free agent. If the Jets or another team throws millions of dollars at Wallace, Pittsburgh may have no choice but to let him go.

The only problem with this plan for the Jets is the first-round pick they would need to give Pittsburgh in exchange for signing Wallace. The Jets pick 16th in April, a spot where an impact prospect such as Courtney Upshaw, Melvin Ingram, Mark Barron or Mike Adams could be available.

The real question for the Jets becomes whether Wallace is worth a hefty contract AND a first-round pick. He's certainly worth the money and the pick on their own but both? That becomes a dilemma.

The Jets could use that money on a pass rusher like Williams, an unrestricted free agent, and draft an impact player with their first-round pick as well. A player of Williams' caliber along with a first-round prospect is certainly a better use of resources than just signing Wallace.

On the surface, it may seem like the Jets are a perfect fit for Wallace. Upon digging deeper, however, the option becomes less desirable when you look at the alternatives. If the Jets can't sign Williams or another big-name free agent, maybe this discussion heats up a little once we get closer to the draft.

For now, the Jets would be wise to let teams like the Bengals and even the division-rival Patriots do the bidding for Wallace. There's no doubt he would be a great add and give the Jets a different and necessary dimension on offense, but at what cost?

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