After his 2012 season, it was a foregone conclusion that wide receiver Mike Wallace would be parting ways with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Wallace got his money with the Miami Dolphins and will make his return to Heinz Field this Sunday where he will be in store for a less than positive greeting from the Steelers crowd.
But given the way the Steelers 2013 season has gone and the way Wallace has performed this season, you have to wonder how much the Steelers really miss him?
It hasn’t been a horrible season for Wallace despite the slow start. He’s caught 56 passes for 743 yards and three touchdowns. While those numbers are decent, they don’t warrant the big money contract he received.
But I have to make the case that the Steelers miss Wallace more than anyone would like to admit. I also will make the case that Wallace misses the Steelers.
As for Wallace, his numbers would likely be much better with Ben Roethlisberger as his quarterback rather than Ryan Tannehill in Miami. That’s a given. At the end of the day Wallace will end up missing Roethlisberger as not lining up with Big Ben has hurt his numbers.
As for the Steelers, I look at how they have had to replace him.
Emmanuel Sanders is not a legitimate No. 2 NFL receiver and his deficiencies have been exposed.
Sanders’ numbers are close to Wallace’s in terms of receptions, but he is not the threat that Wallace was in a Steelers uniform.
While both Sanders and Wallace have had nine receptions of over 20 yards, the Steelers as a team rank only 22nd in the NFL in passing plays over 20 yards.
That’s a dimension that Wallace brings to an offense that Sanders doesn’t. In a Steelers uniform with Roethlisberger throwing to him, you could make the case that the offense would have had more big plays under its belt.
Similar to what Sanders is doing this year, there is no mistaking the fact that Wallace had a poor season last year and it made sense for the organization to move on.
However Wallace hasn’t been replaced yet and it may be a long while until he is. Until that happens he will be missed in this Steelers offense.