Miami Dolphins wide receiver Mike Wallace was upset in the second quarter of Sunday's loss to the New York Jets. He had passing words with quarterback Ryan Tannehill, then came off the field and told coaches he no longer wished to continue playing, sources told The Herald Sunday night.
The story was also reported by NFL Network's Jeff Darlington.
Wallace has apparently threatened similar incidents in the past, according to these sources. Those incidents were not public. And in the past Wallace never directly told head coach Joe Philbin he didn't want to continue.
Although Philbin said after the game "it was a coaching decision" to bench Wallace, that decision actually didn't come until after Wallace came off the field and told Philbin he was done playing.
It was the first time Philbin heard those words directly from Wallace this year.
Afterward, I asked Tannehill if Wallace's actions would impact the duo going forward. As I wrote in my column today, Tannehill said he didn't think it would be a problem.
But seriously, how can it not be a problem? It most definitely is a problem for the coaching staff and some players.
Think of this: In the final game of the season, the team's highest paid player decided he was going to stop playing because something was not happening as he would want. That raises trust issues among the coaching staff. And while some players remain strong in the belief Wallace is a good teammate, perhaps agreeing why he took the actions he took, others believe he basically quit on them.
So do the Dolphins forgive and forget?
Or do they worry that in any similar difficult situation in the future, Wallace might not like what's going on and, well, quit again?
If the Miami braintrust decides the latter is the right answer, Wallace's days with Dolphins could be over.
The eventual answer could be tied to the salary cap.
Wallace next season is scheduled to cost the Dolphins $12.1 million against the cap. He is scheduled to make $9.85 million of which $3 million is guaranteed. So the Dolphins can simply pay the piper and hold their breath Wallace has no further episodes.
But as I just reported, he's had previous episodes so the chances of him simply stopping in the future seem poor. So perhaps the Dolphins will either try to trade Wallace or cut him.
If they can find no suitor that will swallow what now seems like a bad contract, the Dolphins can cut Wallace and enjoy a cap savings. If they either cut him post-June 1 or designate him as a post-June 1 cut, the Dolphins would be on the hook for a $5.2 million cap hit, which would be a $6.9 million cap savings.
Cutting Wallace pre-June 1 would be less palatable as the dead money would be $9.6 million while offering only a $2.5 million savings.
In both instances there would be dead money in future years that the Dolphins would have to carry.
Tough either way. And that it is coming out now shows how troubled the Dolphins truly are, as I write in my column. Sunday's 37-24 loss was just a symptom of a sick franchise.
The disease is something no one seems to have a cure for.
[Note: The column, you may read, says Wallace either quit or was benched. I was told early on Sunday that both were true. Sunday evening the picture came into better focus but that was after deadlines so the latest is here.]