The Ravens have picked up Wallace's contract option for 2017. After seeing former Raven and 49er Torrey Smith choose Philadelphia over Baltimore in free agency, retaining Wallace was a no-brainer, especially with the team having bid adieu to veteran pass catcher Steve Smith. Per the Baltimore Sun, Wallace's 2017 option is for $5.75 million. The 30-year-old is coming off his first season with the team, in which he caught 72 passes (on 117 targets) for 1,017 receiving yards and four TDs in 16 contests.
Head coach John Harbaugh expects Wallace to remain with the Ravens in 2017, Ryan Mink of the team's official site reports. "But my anticipation is that Mike Wallace will be a part of our team, and I know he's working to be a part of our team, and I'm planning on having him back next year," Harbaugh said Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine. Last offseason, Wallace landed in Baltimore on a two-year contract, which included a lofty $8 million team option for the 2017 campaign. Considering he topped all Ravens receivers with 1,017 yards, including 415 yards after catch, last season, the organization clearly deems the 30-year-old worthy of a roster spot. There's no indication whether the front office is seeking a restructured deal with a more team-friendly salary cap hit. However, after Steve Smith's retirement, quarterback Joe Flacco likely prefers to have a modicum of continuity within the passing attack, which may include Wallace in addition to wideout Breshad Perriman and tight ends Dennis Pitta and Benjamin Watson (Achilles), among other holdovers, in the fall.
Wallace caught all four passes that came his way for 33 yards in Sunday's loss to the Bengals. It was a tale of two halves for Wallace. He averaged 76.8 yards per game, had his five largest yardage totals and all four of his touchdowns in Baltimore's first eight games. He averaged 50.4 yards per game, topping 60 yards just once, and didn't score for the remainder of the season. More will be on the speedster's plate next season as he will be without his dependable veteran counterpart, the retiring Steve Smith.
Wallace secured four of seven targets for 21 yards in Sunday's 31-27 loss to the Steelers. Wallace was quiet on a day when teammates Steve Smith and Dennis Pitta commanded a large chunk of Joe Flacco's attention. The speedy veteran's yardage total was actually a season low, but leaves Wallace just 16 yards shy of the third 1,000-yard season of his career, and first since 2011 in Pittsburgh. He'll try to accomplish the feat in the Week 17 finale versus the Bengals.
Wallace caught two of five targets for 60 yards in Sunday's win over the Eagles. If not for his 54-yard catch and run in the fourth quarter, Sunday would've been Wallace's quietest game of the year. He was able to flash his top-flight speed on a drag route over the middle, which resulted in the big play to move the Ravens deep into Eagle territory. Otherwise, Wallace was held in check as he caught just one of his four other targets for a total of six yards. His two catches marked a season-low and his five targets were well below his season average entering Sunday (7.77). Wallace will face an improving Steelers secondary on Sunday.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
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