Wide receiver has become a breeding ground for the New York Giants over the past few seasons but that doesn’t overshadow their history of wily free agent moves. Could they take another Pittsburgh Steelers star in Mike Wallace?
Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz struggle without Mario Manningham
Last year, the unsung heroes of the Giants championship run were the wide receivers. Eli Manning became a Super Bowl MVP for the second time because of the huge plays the trio of Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham made. Fast forward a year and per typical NFL doctrine things have changed. New York lost Manningham to San Francisco and since then their passing offense has gone through some serious rough patches. Nicks has battled knee problems all season. Cruz hasn’t played poorly but isn’t anywhere near the level he was last season. As a result Manning hasn’t looked like the player he was during the epic stretch run to the title. His last 300-yard game was October 21st and he almost went an entire month without throwing a touchdown pass. The Giants are 1-3 in their last four games and suddenly find Dallas and Washington breathing down their necks for control of the NFC East. Much of the struggles go to other areas but the lack of explosive plays from the receivers is of major concern.
Wallace lost in Todd Haley offense without Ben Roethlisberger
One way New York hopes to fix it is with players they’ve already drafted such as Reuben Randle or Ramses Barden. However the team also has a history of free agency activity when the time is right. The Pittsburgh Steelers know this too well. After all, the Giants were the team that took Plaxico Burress away back in 2005. Now a situation has developed where they might do it again. Pittsburgh and its fans have wondered for weeks what has happened to Pro Bowl receiver Mike Wallace. After a season of one big play after another, the “fastest man in football” suddenly can’t get out of his own way. At time he seems lost in the new offensive system set up by Todd Haley. Indeed many players admit the learning curve is steep. Then again things really didn’t become an issue for Wallace until quarterback Ben Roethlisberger sprained his shoulder. Since week ten he topped 40 yards receiving once and has one touchdown in those four games. Not the kind of play that earns the hefty pay raise Wallace wanted from the Steelers in the off-season. If the struggles continue, Pittsburgh may choose to play hardball when negotiation restart in March. That could mean Wallace is on the way out, and New York is certainly a team that should have interest.
Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz can’t do everything alone. Their talents were meant for specific roles on the New York Giants offense. That is why a move for Mike Wallace of the Pittsburgh Steelers make sense.
Photo Credit – HSS