Mike Wallace's first season with the Dolphins didn't go as expected. After signing a five-year, $60 million deal last offseason, the wide receiver with speed to burn had just 73 receptions for 930 yards with career lows in yards per catch (12.7) and touchdowns (5). And according to Football Outsiders, Wallace ranked 77th in total value among all wideouts.
In the months after the season, CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora reported that the Dolphins entertained the possibility of trading Wallace. It never happened and now he's looking to improve on a forgettable 2013 campaign. Even if it means expanding his job description.
“I might get back there for kickoff returns,” Wallace told Sky Sports. “I just want to be on the field making an impact for my team. I've always wanted to return kicks ever since I've been in the NFL."
Of course, this doesn't mean the Dolphins will go along with it. Wallace is one of the league's highest-paid receivers and special teams duty is one of the most dangerous jobs in an already dangerous profession.
“My coaches in Pittsburgh let me do it in the preseason but they didn't want to chance anything during the regular season given that I was playing a lot on offense," Wallace admitted. "At this point of my career, I just want to get the ball in my hands and make some plays.”
It was in Pittsburgh where Wallace had his best years, logging back-to-back 1,110-plus-yard seasons in 2010 and 2011, with 18 touchdowns and a gaudy 18 YPC average. And now the plan is to flash some of that explosiveness in Miami.
“There were a lot of missed opportunities,” Wallace said of the 2013 season. “Not just for myself but for the entire team. But we're working hard and I feel a lot more comfortable with our new offense. ...
“Myself and Ryan Tannehill have been working together about four days per week during the off-season, just trying to connect and get on the same page. We've been doing really well, connecting on some of those deep balls and things are on the up for us.”
New offensive coordinator Bill Lazor will be critical to any improvements. In June, Wallace spoke glowingly of the new scheme.
“Nobody can ever key on me,” he said at the time. “Last year, you kind of knew where I was every single play, what you had to do because I was there every game, same spot. Moving around, it's harder for the defense to know where you're at, harder for them to adjust.”