Panthers head coach Ron Rivera intimated Carolina would like to add free agent wide receiver Mike Wallace to the team. The Panthers have a prolific #1 receiver in Steve Smith who is coming off his 12th year in the league. Smith still possesses very good speed, exceptional quickness, fantastic leaping ability and great hands, but he is certainly on the backside of his career. There are some other talented receivers on the Panthers roster but none have yet to display that #1 receiver ability. I believe Brandon Lafell could be the eventual #1 but he still needs some fine tuning in order to get there.
Steve Smith is entering the season as a 33 year old receiver. He is still one of the leagues premiere wide outs, but realistically we must begin the search for his replacement. Wallace could be that man. His acquisition would allow Smith to take a role he has been wanting for some time now. Smith has wanted to become more of a secondary target. With Steve Smith as a secondary receiver several things would be accomplished. Let’s take a look at what some of those may be.
Smitty would be required to run less “go” or vertical routes. Wallace is often thought of as the fastest receiver in the league. Wallace would be the primary receiver on deep routes. The middle of the field and the underneath routes would open up for Smith. He could then utilize his run after catch ability. Another benefit for the team would be Smith could act as a mentor to the young Wallace. Mike Wallace has great potential but during his time in Pittsburgh he didn’t jell with the rest of the team. I think the year he held out really displeased the ownership and coaching staff as well as teammates. Holding out is just not the Steelers way. Smith, who during a time or two had found himself in less than favorable situations with teammates, could be an example to Wallace of what it takes to be a team leader and a true professional football player. and lastly the presence of Mike Wallace would certainly extend the career of Steve Smith too. Wallace is only coming into his 5th season as a pro, so he has lots of tread left on his tires. The slightly reduced role Smith would take could allow him an additional year or two of significant contribution to the Panthers organization.
With Wallace on the roster the Panthers would instantly have one of the leagues most potent offenses and Cam Newton would have one of the best receiving corps in the entire NFL. Just think, Smith, Wallace, Olsen, Lafell, and Murphy as your main receivers! That does not include any of the backs like Stewart or Tolbert as receivers coming out of the backfield. Newton would have a very impressive arsenal of receivers to utilize. The play calling would be very interesting for Mike Shula with all those weapons. I wonder if there would be enough footballs to go around and keep everyone happy?
Yes there are many logistics that must be dealt with in order for this to take place. The initial steps have been taken with Stewart restructuring his contract and being willing to do so less that a year after signing said contract. I would like to think Beason and Williams would be willing to do the same in order to keep the team together and to allow for the acquisition of a difference maker like Mike Wallace to be brought on board. All that being said even with the a fore mentioned players being willing to renegotiate their contracts, the Panthers may still not be able to offer Wallace as much money as say the Dolphins or another franchise that has more cap room and is willing to make Wallace a higher offer. As far as surrounding himself with talent however I believe Wallace would be hard pressed to find a better team than what the Carolina Panthers have to offer.
As Panther fans we could only hope and pray this will happen.
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